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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

what decisions?

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.

To Conclude

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 at