5 Steps to Building a Winning Culture

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“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” – Peter Drucker.

This well-known and powerful quote demonstrates how the best strategy goes awry without a healthy team. To put it more bluntly, a strategy without a healthy culture is a shortcoming waiting to happen. Culture plays a critical role in the engagement, the energy, and the execution of a strategy. It is the atmosphere where the strategy will either live or die. 

The natural question that follows is, if a strategy is dependent on culture, how do you build a strong culture? We believe a healthy culture begins by implementing these five easy steps.   

Step 1: Measure It Regularly 

“What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done.” In ministry, we have a habit of measuring bodies, buildings, and budgets, but we all know there is more to growth than this. Have you ever thought about measuring culture? It should be a metric alongside all the others your church uses. It will take you further and faster in your mission if you choose to leverage it. This is why we created the Culture Tool, a staff engagement study that measures the health of your organization by examining nine indicators: trust in leadership, communication, collaboration, roles & expectations, innovation, support, collaboration, personal satisfaction, and mission, vision, and values. With the Culture Tool report, you will be able to see immediately what areas you are winning in and where you might want to improve. Establishing a benchmark with a commitment to reviewing it yearly will be vital to creating a healthy culture.  

Step 2: Create a Budget & Calendar 

You might be thinking, we are on a shoestring budget, that seems like a luxury! Secondly, who has time for this? The truth is you might be spending money and pouring time into culture in an adverse manner and may not even know it. Turnover, low morale, and underperformance are costly. It puts you in a reactive mode and a money pit quickly. Choose to be proactive about your culture and devote time and funds to creating a workplace people want to be a part of.  

Step 3: Appoint a Culture Advocate 

Nearly every job description always includes a small phrase that supervisors secretly relish. It reads, “Other Duties as Assigned.”  Chances are, there is someone on your team that is passionate about this. They want to help create a healthy and strong culture. Don’t think you have to hire for this position. It can be someone within.  

Step 4: Turn Values into Actions 

Values should be weekly conversations and evident in everything you do. Take time to share examples of where the values are being demonstrated within your organization. You can do this easily by inserting a values section into your weekly meetings. Highlight them often and point everything you do back to them. Let the values be the center of your planning and decision-making. 

Step 5: Prioritize Culture When Hiring

Theology matters. Character matters. Competency matters. But don’t forget about Culture!  Culture is not about ping-pong tables and fancy coffee machines. It is the shared values, attitudes, and behaviors that shape your church. If a candidate isn’t a culture fit, it is like a fish trying to survive on land. It is going to end badly! The best way to hire for culture is to ask questions about their passions, interests, and items that have shaped their life. Listen to the candidate’s stories and how they navigate life.  Is it similar to how your church views and approaches the work you do?

In the end, we hope that these small steps propel you to examine your culture carefully and take action steps towards creating a strong and healthy culture. If we can help you get started on building a healthy culture, let us know. We would love to help!

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