5 Truths of Organizational Culture

imagesThese truths are worth repeating. I share them at least once a year. Why? Because we need to reflect on them at least that often. Ask yourself a few questions about your lead team, ministry or organization…

Have you plateaued? Do you feel an increasing lack of momentum within your organization and influence within your community? Perhaps you are willing to take a serious “look in the mirror” but don’t know where to start or what to look for?

Gather your team and walk through these tried and tested truths from Pastor Andy Stanley. You might even want to unpack them one at a time to discover what they say about you and, more importantly, what you need to do about it…

5 Inescapable Truths of Organizational Culture

by Pastor Andy Stanley 

Culture: That set of unwritten rules that determine how a people in an organization act, react, solve problems, treat people, live out expectations, approaches… the stuff that makes up the personality of the organization.

Culture incorporates Values: For example, excellence is a value. How we express (apply, live it out, etc) excellence creates our culture. Culture says, “This is how we do it here.”

Culture impacts how people carry out and focus on the vision/mission. It is difficult but EXTRAORDINARILY important to embrace cultural change.

Reality: Every church has a culture. What is ours? Describe it in 3 words… _________________   _________________   _________________

Truth 1: Leaders shape the culture whether they intend to or not.

Leaders either adapt to the present culture (become invisible) or create culture (change agent).

What is the driving force of our culture? God may be blessing… but what is He blessing and to what end? When you are sure about this, protect it and promote it at all cost!

Truth 2: Time in erodes awareness of.

If you aren’t intentional, the longer we are in leadership the less aware we are of our culture (how we appear to others).

These first two truths compound one another. You have to build into your culture ways to stay aware. i.e. Guest Ready! For example… new staff/guest evaluations and “Main Event” reviews.

Truth 3: Healthy cultures attract and keep healthy people.

Unhealthy people (i.e. consumers vs. producers; self-absorbed; negative; critical; tradition-bound; power-brokers; “needy” drama kings & queens, etc) are attracted to unhealthy cultures. Healthy people  (producers, others-oriented, not easily offended, “get it done”, etc)  have a low tolerance of unhealthy cultures… and they just leave. If we really want to be able to minister to unhealthy, hurting people, we must constantly strive to be healthy people in healthy environments.

Unhealthy Indicators:

1 – Unhealthy people (Consumers) are drama oriented & healthy people (Producers) are “get-it-done” oriented.

2 – Unhealthy people are self-focused & healthy people are others-focused.

3 – Unhealthy organizations use sideways energy and are busy, busy, busy… with little productivity (and wore out, uninspired leaders). Healthy organizations are others-focused (making disciples) and use forward energy, resulting in high productivity (and energized, inspired leaders!).

Truth 4: The organizational culture impacts the long-term productivity of the organization.

Territorialism is replaced by collaboration. Mediocrity is replaced by excellence. Red tape is replaced by simple systems that empower people. Feelings don’t get hurt and leaders don’t have to walk on “eggshells,” killing momentum and productivity again and again… and there is healthy growth!

Truth 5: Unhealthy cultures are slow to adapt to change.

The churches that grow the fastest and are the healthiest are those that are NOT focused on their church members. (NOTE: This is assuming you have created healthy discipleship environments and processes for your members). An unhealthy culture is generally focused inward, on itself and their back is to the marketplace. An unhealthy church resists change. Healthy churches seek outward focused, forward moving change and can act, react, morph, adapt and create in a high-energy environment. Members needs are cared for as, together, they share life and care for others.

“Does this really matter?” YES!

If our productivity is tied to making disciples and impacting a culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ… then intentionally growing from the inside-out into a healthy culture eternally matters!

Notes: What spoke to you? How can you identify these truths in your organizational culture? Share at least 2 examples or take-a-ways…

*5 Truths in bold by Andy Stanley… summaries from his teaching are from yours truly.

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