In order for team members to accomplish their goals, they first must have a cohesive culture.
That was just one piece of advice shared by George Halvorson ’70 during the Offutt School Presents event March 26 in Minneapolis.
Halvorson presented his lecture, “Building a Culture of Success,” to about 160 business leaders and Concordia students. Kevin Goodno ’85 moderated the conversation after the lecture.
“We are all creatures of instincts,” Halvorson said. “Our instincts set the direction; culture articulates how we get there.”
Halvorson provided guidelines on how to establish a culture. First, he suggested identifying the culture one wants in a company. Secondly, he said to observe the type of culture that is already in place. Learn how to adapt the new values with the old values and soon people will become attuned to the new culture.
“It’s a really good thing to do – figure out a culture,” Halvorson said.
Halvorson is chair and CEO of the Institute for InterGroup Understanding and chair of the First 5 California Children and Families Commission. Previously, he was chair and CEO of Kaiser Permanente for 11 years and was president and CEO of HealthPartners for 17 years.
Within Halvorson’s current roles, he aids California families with understanding their children’s brain development and assists people dealing with issues of racism and discrimination.
That work has led him to understand how a child’s vocabulary indicates whether or not he or she will continue with school and stay away from crime activity, he said. The first three years of a child’s life are critical for establishing and creating the neuron connections, which can be made stronger by interacting with the child through reading, talking and playing.
The stronger the vocabulary the child has before kindergarten, the higher the likelihood of success the child will have, Halvorson said.
Through a survey, Halvorson and his team discovered that the mothers in California didn’t know this information. This lack of knowledge motivated Halvorson and his team to go into the schools.
“We need everyone in education to recognize the fact that those kids are not going to succeed if they don’t come in prepared,” he said.
Halvorson’s journey began at Concordia, where he studied English, history and political science.
“I love Concordia,” Halvorson said. “I deeply appreciate the education I received because I learned so much about a wide array of topics.”