How to Move Your Organization Through 3 Phases of Cultural Refinement

Is your organization frustrating and lifeless or is it engaging and inspiring?

For many people, descriptors such as “dreary,” “discouraging,” “fear-based,” or “missed promises” describe their organization’s culture.

Leaders don’t want a dreary or frustrating organizational culture but most don’t know what to do about it. They’ve seen inspiring organizations but have never been taught how to create or maintain one.

How does a leader go about creating something that, on one hand, is so important, but, on the other hand, seems so amorphous?

Leaders can build a high performing, values aligned culture through an organizational constitution.

Your organizational constitution describes exactly how its members will engage with each other, outside stakeholders and guests, as members act to fulfill their team or department’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals.

An organizational constitution:

  • outlines your team’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals.
  • paints a vivid picture of success, values, and behaviors.
  • maps out how to work from that picture each day.
  • gives team member’s jobs and roles meaning and clarity.

S. Chris Edmonds, a senior consultant with the Blanchard Group, has a new book entitled The Culture Engine, which answers the question, “How do I fix it?” It provides leaders with a framework for crafting a high performance, values aligned organizational culture. That proven framework is creating, then managing to, an organizational constitution.

Edmonds develops three phases of culture refinement through an organizational constitution – the design phase, the align phase, and the refine phase.

Is an organizational culture right for your team? Evaluate your team’s performance, teamwork, and civility. If they’re not where you’d like them to be, change expectations by looking for more than just performance. Create a work environment built on trust, respect, and dignity for all team leaders and members, and you’ll enjoy greater employee engagement, higher customer service, and higher profits.

>> Download a brief summary of Edmond’s Three Phases here.


For over ten years, Auxano has been delivering to churches the process described above: the Vision Pathway.

The Vision Pathway is a one-of-a-kind process that provides a framework to deliver unique and comprehensive Vision Clarity for your organization.

We believe God is doing something cosmically significant and locally specific in your church. By engaging in a challenging process of praying, listening, and interacting with your team around certain key questions, it is possible to articulate the unique vision God has for your church and take practical steps to align your church to move toward that vision.

>> Learn more about our Vision Pathway Process.

>> Start a conversation with one of our Navigators.

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Jon Pyle — 02/09/15 2:52 pm

As I began to jot notes down about my organization specifically, I think it can become a kind of guiding document that focuses sharply on the "how". It can be a tangible, accessible foundation for everyday organizational reality in different terms than the Vision Proper. Of course, it is a living document that will be saturated with your vision frame (mission, metrics, etc.) and other elements of the Vision Pathway too. Especially when I see a focus on things like values, the constitution can allow you to define them even further and connect them to the operations of the organization. Even your least "big picture" staff/volunteers can grasp and internalize the result of what I interpret Edmonds is going for. It feels very practical. All that to say, I'm not entirely sure! I just ordered the book, so I hope to read through it soon and get a better idea. Thank you for responding.

VRcurator — 02/09/15 2:29 pm

The phrase "organizational constitution" as used by the author, S. Chris Edmonds, captured my attention when I first came across it. The use of terms like values, strategies, goals, and above all clarity, were of great interest to the Auxano team. We are always on the lookout for work by other organizations that supports the Vision Pathway process. We are just diving into the process, but were intrigued enough to want to get it out to the Vision Room readers. I hope to post some follow-up in the days ahead. Jon, after you have had a chance to look at the download, what do you think?

Jon Pyle — 02/06/15 3:10 pm

How does the organizational constitution integrate with the Vision Pathway? Is it the part of zooming down for more detail once your vision is established?

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What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
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If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
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I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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