One of the intangibles of any organization is it’s unique culture. Whether you’re a large corporation with several thousand, a handful of church staff members or an office of one; any entity trying to get something done has a way in which it gets that mission done. Culture is how a team relates and performs with those in and outside the organization to accomplish their mission.
Two months ago our church staff walked through an exercise of evaluating our culture. This isn’t for the faint of heart. Nothing feels as vulnerable for a leader as when you have to stand up and ask your team to describe the culture: the good, the bad and the ugly. Many leaders never ask this question because they feel that whatever negative aspects exist, exist because they themselves have fostered or allowed it to exist.
Remember: Great leaders aren’t afraid to look at the truth about themselves or the organization they lead.
Here are 5 Steps For Bringing Change to Your Team’s Culture:
1. Ask: Ask your team to list out the good and bad in regards to how they view the team’s culture. Tell them not to hold back and to give it to you straight! Here was our team’s feedback:
“Behind in Planning, casual, family oriented, responsive to needs, messy, trusting, passionate, accessible, slow in communicating, fun, distracted, great at team work, committed, low on drama.”
Be sure to ask others that engage with your team from the outside. Doing this allows you to get a complete picture of how your team’s culture is perceived from the outside.
2. Decide: Once you feel like you have a clear picture of where your culture stands, it’s time to decide what you want to keep and what you want to change. Your organization most likely has values by which you can filter out what should and shouldn’t be. Remember, it’s not enough to “stop” doing something in your culture, you must replace that undesirable trait with a new one.
3. Invest: Two areas you must now invest: sustaining desired culture and addressing the stuff that you don’t want. Don’t fall into the trap of investing in only what needs to be “fixed.” You must continue to invest in the areas that you love about your culture. You can’t overhaul your entire culture at once so prioritize where you’re going to put your focus. For our team, I wanted to work on better planning and sustaining our fun atmosphere.
4. Evaluate: Schedule a time for when your team is going to come back and discuss your progress. Whether it’s weekly, every other week, monthly…..whatever. What matters is that you’re keeping it front the team.
5. Celebrate: As your team nails the target of what you’re shooting for ( individually or corporately) celebrate that win. Pointing out and celebrating team growth affirms the new cultural behavior you’re looking for.
Your Turn! I’d love to learn from you. What would you add to this process above? Share below!