Scott Vandenburg, MA, LPC, LCDC, CART | Senior Program Director
Organizational culture may be defined as behaviors, expectations, and practices, all guided by an overarching set of values that collectively shape and inform all team members’ actions within an organization. Culture, among other things, represents shared beliefs within any type of social system or organization. These shared beliefs are central to how an organization functions. Additionally, the cohesiveness of an organization can depend on how strongly its members believe in the organization’s values and how strongly they share these beliefs.
At Origins, the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous is central to all the services we provide and an integral part of our organizational culture.
For those unfamiliar with the program, the 12 Steps are a “spiritual” program and a set of tools designed to help those with substance use disorders find not only sobriety but also a new way of life based on principles like selflessness, honesty, integrity, gratitude, patience, tolerance, responsibility, acceptance, humility, service, and self-discipline. For the staff at Origins, these are not just principles we encourage our patients to embrace to recover from their illnesses. These are characteristics that we, as team members, strive to embrace and demonstrate through our actions, conduct, behavior, and words in everything we do. How well team members fit into our organization and embrace our culture is often determined by how well they align with and demonstrate these principles. This concept applies to all staff members in all departments.
Our organization’s culture is a reflection of the culture of recovery, and doing the right thing is not just some simple moral imperative, but a way of life for our staff.
If staff believe in what we’re doing, the motivation to carry out the organization’s goals and objectives will be internally rather than externally driven. Interestingly, these are the values of leadership in this organization as well, and the concept of being a servant-leader permeates our leadership values and methods.
The organizational culture at Origins, like the culture of 12-Step recovery, is a culture of service and putting others’ needs before our own.
This design for living has not only introduced countless people to a new way of life in recovery filled with meaning and purpose, but it also provides an organizational blueprint to create a work environment that reflects the way of life we introduce to our patients.