The list below, “14 Thoughts About Building a Great Culture,” came into my inbox this week. I believe the thoughts expressed are relevant to a church that is beginning to address the departure of a long-time pastor and the process of calling another.
The article begs the question “What is the culture of Nacoochee Presbyterian Church?” I think it is a similar question to the one I presented in last month’s newsletter, “What are our core values?”
In any case, this article speaks to the importance of both leaders and the community sustaining a positive and lasting culture. I think number 5 is particularly relevant.
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14 Thoughts About Building a Great Culture
1. Great leaders build and drive great cultures. They know it’s their number one priority. They can’t delegate it. They must lead and be engaged in the process.
2. Culture is the reason why great organizations have sustained success. Culture drives expectations and beliefs. Expectations and beliefs drive behavior. Behavior drives habits. Habits create the future.
3. Culture beats strategy. Strategy is important but it is your culture that will determine whether your strategy is successful.
4. If you focus on the fruit of the tree (outcomes and numbers) and ignore the root (culture) your tree will die. But if you focus on and nourish the root you always have a great supply of fruit.
5. When building a team and organization you must shape your culture before it shapes you. A culture is forming whether you like it or not. The key is to identify what you want your culture and organization to stand for. Once you know the values and principles that you stand for, every decision is easy to make; including the people you recruit and hire.
6. A culture of greatness doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when a leader expects greatness and each person in the organization builds it, lives it, values it, reinforces it and fights for it.
7. Culture is dynamic, not static. Everyone in your organization creates your culture by what they think, say and do each day. Culture is led from the top down but it comes to life from the bottom up.
8. Your culture is not just your tradition. It is the people in your building who carry it on. – Brad Stevens, Head Coach, Boston Celtics
9. When leading a new team or organization, it will take longer to build a new culture if you allow negative people from the previous culture to contaminate the process.
10. When you build a strong, positive culture most of the energy vampires will leave by themselves because they don’t fit in. But you may also have to let a few energy vampires off the bus.
11. Creating a culture where people are afraid to fail leads to failure. Allowing people to fail and learn from failure ultimately leads to success.
12. Change is a part of every culture and organization. Embracing change and innovating will ensure that your organization thrives.
13. Progress is important but when innovating and driving change make sure you honor your tradition, purpose and culture. This generates power from your past to create your future.
14. Culture is like a tree. It takes years to cultivate and grow and yet it can be chopped down in a minute. Protect your culture.