Association RevUP is a podcast presented by the Professionals for Association Revenue. The following post is based on Episode 1: RevUP Culture with Jamie Notter. Check out the full episode wherever you get your podcast or at the link below.

Integrity. Communication. Respect. Excellence. These were the four core values of one of America’s most innovative companies that later became the center of one of its largest financial scandals.

"There was a cool organization that had 'honesty and integrity' on the wall in the lobby of their headquarters. It was called Enron," says Jamie Notter, culture strategist and author of the new book, Culture Change Made Easy: See Your Hidden Workplace Patterns and Get Unstuck.

Notter works with organizations to analyze and improve their culture. He is the featured guest on episode one of PAR's new podcast that focuses on association business, Association RevUP. He points to the notorious 2001 collapse of the energy company Enron to highlight what culture is and why it is important.

"Culture is the collection of words, actions, thoughts, and sorry for the technical term ‘stuff’ that clarifies and reinforces what is truly valued inside an organization. Culture is about what's valued, because what's valued drives behavior."

Enron’s 2001 collapse highlights the distinction between two seemingly similar words: values and valued. Enron identified integrity as a value, but their fraudulent accounting practices showed that integrity was not actually valued. Recognizing the distinction between the two words helps ensure that a culture's actions support words rather than contradict them. If Enron truly valued integrity instead of just listing it as a value, the company could have avoided the scandal that resulted in a 63-billion-dollar bankruptcy declaration and top executives heading to prison.

"Honesty and integrity was one of Enron’s core values. It was not what was valued at Enron. What was valued was making your numbers even if you had to make a large accounting firm lie about it. And I don't know what the collection of words, actions, thoughts and stuff was that made that clear to people, but it must have been there, because that's the behavior they got," Notter says.

According to Notter, culture matters for associations because it drives behaviors and business outcomes. Associations often focus on improving sales processes, programs, products and even staff when they want to improve revenue. However, Notter says leaders should prioritize culture in the same way they prioritize things like financial management if they want to advance.

“What leader comes to you and says, ‘You know, it's really busy, so we are not going to look at our bank accounts or do reconciliations. I mean, I'm just so swamped. But in six months, I'll do it.’ You wouldn't do that because you're committed to financial management. We need to get committed to culture management.”

Listen to episode one of Association RevUP presented by the Professionals for Association Revenue as Notter explains how to identify, improve and grow your association’s culture – and ultimately your association's revenue.

"The organizations that change culture the fastest win. The pace of change today has never been this fast. And it will never again be this slow."

Association RevUP: The Podcast That Will Get Everyone Talking about Revenue Health!

In this entertaining and educational series, association leaders and team members become active learners on a path to building an association that prioritizes the transformative impact of revenue at all levels.

Episode 1: RevUP Culture | Jamie Notter
Learn how your association's business efforts are impacted by your culture. In this episode, you'll learn how to define culture, steps to take to build it, pitfalls to avoid, and critical questions to help you assess your association's culture.