PART III – Filtering: A Blueprint for Focused Development of Championship Level Culture

Filtering: A Blueprint for Focused Development of Championship Level Culture

By: guest contributor Patrick Henry


The final part of a three part series on an approach for development of a Championship Level Culture focuses on putting the four building blocks discussed in the prior segments of the series together, illustrates the two key points of focus coaches should examine that drives culture and defines the one critical area where a programs culture is critiqued.

Organizational Focal Points: Character & Mission
While Values, Standards, Objectives and Procedures establish the main building blocks for program culture, they also serve as the cornerstones for the two critical focal points for a program and it’s culture within a Filter-Approach framework: Character and Mission.

Character is combination of two foundational aspects of culture. Character is a program’s Core Values (what we deem as most important) and its Standards (how we consistently behave and act in relation to what we deem is most important). Mission is the combination of the two other foundational aspects of culture. Mission is a program’s Objectives (what we want to accomplish) and it’s Procedures (the interdependent plans used to do what we want to accomplish). Character is the ‘who we are’ and Mission is the ‘what we do’ parts in the aforementioned equation for our definition of culture.

From my experience, issues within a program come from the direct inability to effectively manage developing and cultivating one, or the other or both. A leader may be Mission-Oriented, but have a blind spot to the importance of Character and how it relates to success. Or a coach may be Character-Oriented, but not strong in establishing daily protocols that organically work and a program can become unfocused and undisciplined and members not working together. The focal point of leader when utilizing a Filter-Approach is to viewing a program’s culture as a constant and consistent effort to cultivate both Character and Mission to the best of their ability. Clarity and the will to manage Character and Mission is what separates the good from the great and can push the great to perform at a championship level.

Putting it all Together: Organizational Level of PerformancePrograms, and by default their cultures, are general evaluated by their level of performance. Level of performance typically has the most scrutiny in the areas: What is important to the program, how the program and its members behave, what the program sets out to do and how the program goes about doing what it sets out to do.

Though most fans concentrate on the results-end aspect of culture, the foundation of Values, Standards, Objectives and Procedures and the focal points of Character and Mission are paramount. These create a base from which a framework for a sustainable culture can be culled and developed naturally at any program.

Final Thoughts: Improvement Is Active and Intentional
Having a sustained successful program culture is not an accident. Sustained positive culture is the intentional job of its leadership to actively intentionally evaluate its culture and look at avenues to help grow culture. Championship level coaches understand nurturing the culture is vital because its strength dictates the type of success a team can have and a program may have long-term.

If you are coach struggling to wrap your arms around where to start at building or strengthening your culture, taking a Filtered-Approach can help eliminate some of the noise and allow for a coach to focus on what matters: Building a program to a championship level on an off the court.

Part I of the series can be found here.

Part II of the series can be found here.


Nationally recognized as one of the top assistant coaches and recruiters in women’s basketball, Patrick Henry is a twenty plus year coaching veteran. Henry has worked at the High School, Junior College, Division III, Division II and Division I levels as an assistant coach.

Henry most recently completed a two-year run at Miami (Ohio), where he specialized in the development of the RedHawk perimeter players, in addition to duties in practice and in game strategy.