// PUBLIC GAMING INTERNATIONAL // July/August 2016
profits. Some of the symptoms of a weak lottery agency culture are:
1 Lack of clarity within the agency with regard to the agency’s ob-
jectives and how to achieve them. While the core objective of a
lottery agency is clear, or should be (increase the revenue con-
tribution to the state) Executive Directors tend to provide their
own interpretation of the agency’s objectives and how to achieve
them. This interpretation, of course, has an immediate impact
on the culture and the priorities set by the broader organization.
2 Intra- and inter-departmental silos and lack of alignment: A lack
of unified culture that everyone can live by often leaves each
department or even each individual to pursue their individual
objectives. This leads to subcultures that may not necessarily be
aligned with the organization or with other departments (but
that are aligned with their understandably natural need for job
security). This often leads to a lack of coordination and collabo-
ration between and within departments which again directly im-
pacts the overall business performance.
3 Lack of communication & accountability. A weak culture is also
often defined by a lack of transparency or accountability in the
decision-making process. Employees in one department don’t
know for sure what people in other departments do. Critical
information is often poorly documented and not easily acces-
sible. The default behavior becomes to only share information if
needed or if actively requested.
4 Lack of appreciation for subject matter expertise. Another symp-
tom of weak corporate cultures is often a general lack of under-
standing or appreciation for how others do--or could--contribute to
the mission. On a personal level this often means that individuals
do not feel appreciated or valued for their roles and contributions.
Improving Ones Corporate Culture
The first task for any organization looking to improve its culture
is to actually try to define its current culture and assess its strength
by asking a few basic questions:
1 Is the agency’s vision and core values clearly defined and con-
sistently understood by everyone within the organization (can
everyone within the organization tell you in a few words what the
vision and core values are)?
2 How motivated are the agency’s employees? How valued and ap-
preciated do they (really) feel?
3 Is there transparency and cooperation within and across depart-
ments or is the cooperation hampered by formal or informal silos?
4 Does information flow freely within the organization or it is
“hoarded” by specific departments or individuals?
5 Is the decision making process (RACI framework) within the
organization transparent and it is clear who is accountable for
These questions are basic yet fundamental. And while you’d
think or hope that he answers to those questions are obvious, the
reality is that they often are not. However, I am always surprised,
and I’ve talked to many people working in the lottery industry over
the last 5 years, by how open and willing employees generally are
to share this information candidly when asked (though maybe they
are more willing to open up to an outsider).
Imagine Your Organization is a Music Group
Undertaking an objective self-assessment of ones’ corporate cul-
ture can be difficult. Because of that, understanding how to evolve
your corporate culture isn’t easy either.
For example, imagine your organization is an orchestra playing a
symphony. How would it actually sound? Does your group sound
like a harmonious masterpiece that transports you into a different
world or does it sound like the cacophony of uncoordinated and
un-synchronized noise (think first-grader annual Christmas con-
cert)? Be honest with yourself.
The illustration of how a quartet can either produce beautiful
music or just noise based on how well coordinated and in-synch the
quartet members are is at the core of Quartet Approach’s consulting
philosophy. Based on an upfront audit which identifies the strengths
and weaknesses of your organization’s culture, Jeremy Gershfeld and
his team let you actually experience what your organizational cul-
ture ’sounds’ like now and what it could sound like in the future. In
Jeremy’s own words
“The Quartet Approach personifies what happens
when the rehearsing and performing group of four musicians plays a
substantially better group performance when the elements of their cul-
ture are healthy (as well as hearing/observing what happens when cul-
ture is not). It becomes very clear what happens when, for example, a
lack of clarity in the group’s roles create a psychologically unsafe setting.”
Translating the strength and weaknesses of an organizational cul-
ture into music often creates an “aha!” moment and the discussions
that result from these insights of one’s organizational culture can
help determine alignment, communication, and expectations.
Corporate culture has become an increasingly relevant subject in
the business world over the last 10 years as companies have come
to realize the role it plays in sustaining a competitive advantage and
building a business. It is especially relevant in the lottery industry
which faces its own specific challenges that could be overcome with
decisive movement toward a stronger corporate culture. This type
of corporate culture exploration and refinement might therefore be
worth exploring as an opportunity to improve the performance and
revenue contribution of lottery agencies.
Ulli Appelbaum is Founder & President of brand research and con-
sulting firm First-The-Trousers-Then-the-Shoes specialized in brand
growth and brand storytelling. He’s worked with various state lotteries
in the field of new product development, brand positioning/re-position-
ing, communication strategy development and process optimization.
He can be reached email@example.com