5 Success Factors in Changing Organizational Culture

Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your Conversational Intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams, and the whole organization. Too often we get stuck in habit patterns of ‘talking about’ change but not creating change.

The more we talk about change, the more we talk about all the problems and challenges that can emerge — and we fall into negative mindsets which trigger “fear hormones” and “threat networks” in our brains. No wonder change is so difficult. By the time we are ready to take action we are frozen in place.

You can shift the way you think about change by following these factors that most successful leaders use to navigate their journey:

1st Success Factor: The first skill is be the change for transforming the culture. Realize you have the power, influence and the ability to see and understand the culture in which you work, and to see how you can play a role in transforming it into a healthier, more inspiring, and thriving culture. Transforming culture can mean a culture that is so powerful it transforms itself or it can mean that you play a role in activating the culture transformation.

>>Call to Action: Envision how you can play a catalytic role in transforming your culture. Envision how you can be accountable for co-creating transformation in your culture by the way you show up at work everyday. When you put skin in the game, you become the change that transforms the culture.

2nd Success Factor: The second skill, embrace the opportunity, is the ability to step out of your Comfort Zone and rather than allowing fear of the unknown paralyze you, embrace the opportunity with excitement and enthusiasm. Your shift in focus will create positive ripple effects on those you influence. By fully stepping out of your comfort zone and into a new opportunity – you are activating your ability to transform yourself, and also to inspire courage in others.

>>Call to Action: Embracing opportunity both ‘encourages’ others and ‘inspires courage’ in yourself and others. By seeing transformation and change as a way to grow you have an influence on how you experience the challenge in a positive and less fearful way.

3rd Success Factor: The third skill, create space for conversations, is the ability to intentionally open up opportunities for feedback-rich conversations one-on-one, within teams and across the organization. By opening up space for and creating Conversational Journeys, you create an environment in which employees have room to learn, grow, and be nourished by new ideas and energy.

>>Call to Action: Creating spaces is a call to action you need to take every day to open the space for more innovative, generative, and catalytic conversations to take place in your relationships and teams. This space ‘signals our brain’ that we can share and discover around new ideas we’ve never talked about before.

4th Success Factor: The fourth skill, practice Co-creating Conversations ® is a core to Conversatioanl Intelligence. In the previous steps, you learned to recognize and release old baggage filled with toxic experiences that negatively undermine and denigrate relationships, and replace them with new meanings that positively uplift and inspire relationships – empowering a new sense of optimism and effectiveness.

As a leader, you can begin to have “co-creating conversations.” Co-creating conversations are conversations that have the ability to release the past and open space for the future with others. a psychological state of being that is powerful and transforms us.

>>Call to Action: Co-creating conversations means opening the space for new energy for co-creation with others. This is a space where you and others are open to think about what you don’t know, what you don’t know you don’t know, and to explore possibilities that you never thought about before.

5th Success Factor: And, finally, there is the fifth skill of shaping stories. Having moved from a place of understanding, to challenging, to stepping out and releasing, to opening space for Co-creating Conversations, you have now mastered the most proactive and intentional skill of shaping the story of your team’s collective success. This is what visionary leader and organizations do. It’s work you do with others, no on your own in isolation. And what you co-create together are “shared stories for success” that envision and make possible the fulfillment of WE.

>>Call to Action: Shaping stories, is a call to action to realize how you shape the stories impact how the future unfolds. Reflect every day in a conscious way on how you shape stories so that they are winning, inclusive, and appreciative. These conversations have the ability to reframe your view of the world, give you and others hope for the future, and that enable you to see the best outcomes for all of us. Both meanings have the power to transform.

How You Label Determines How You See
Empowering your team to work in concert to achieve your organizations goals and strategies requires flexibility of thought, agility of mind, and speed of response. Most of all, it requires you to break out of old conversational habits and negative patterns of communicating and view the impact you can have on your business in totally new ways.

Use conversational intelligence as a way to break from the past and create the future. Rather than thinking about situations as problems, think of them as challenges and opportunities, and communicate this point of view in your conversations with others. Until you challenge yourself to change old thinking and old conversational habits, you will see little change from yesterday to today. Once you do – you will find you become a catalyst for change where ever you go and you will discover new energy appears around you for tackling big challenges and achieving the desired results and targets regardless of their size and difficulty.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Judith Glaser

Judith Glaser

Judith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications and the chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of six books, including Creating WE (Platinum Press, 2005) and Conversational Intelligence (BiblioMotion, 2013), and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

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3 Driving Factors in Creating Culture in Your Church

Chick-fil-A is a favorite fast food restaurant chain in the Southeast. When you get something to eat there you are likely to hear a cheerful “My Pleasure” from any employee. It’s part of their culture.

I recently visited Christ Fellowship Church in West Palm Beach. Todd Mullins is the senior pastor and Tom Mullins is the founding pastor. I love that church. The spirit there is amazing. It’s a huge mega-church and yet they make you feel special. Each person is treated like a million bucks! The spirit of hospitality and serving is palpable.

In contrast, I’ve also traveled and consulted with churches that had no need for parking lot attendants because there was plenty of room. The ushers were grumpy and the people glared. (really) The staff members were unhappy and gossiped. The senior pastor was discouraged and the morale was dismal. The culture was toxic and the church was in serious decline. This is extreme, but more common than you might imagine.

You can’t tell people the culture of your church. They experience it. For good or bad, your culture is in full play. It is possible to change it, but requires a long road of deliberate and intentional leadership. You can’t print the six points of your culture in the bulletin and think that will change anything.

Some church staffs have gone on retreat to figure out what they want their culture to be. That’s good, but again, you can’t come back and announce it. The leaders need to live it out.

Candidly, it’s very difficult to repair a negative culture. Rather, you replace it with a positive culture. In other words, you are on defense if you attempt to repair what is broken. It’s like putting your fingers in the dyke to stop the flooding. The problem is that there are one hundred holes and you have only ten fingers! You can’t keep up. Instead, you want to get out in front.

Make the changes you need to make. If you need to make a change in staff, be courageous and make the change. If you need to make a shift in your ministries, then do it. If you need to seek forgiveness or return to teaching the gospel, serving the poor; whatever it may be, just do it.

Don’t jump into this process with fear or in panic. Think clearly and pray much. This is a long, slow and deliberate road. If a healthy culture represents a healthy personality, then what is your healthy personality? Live that out authentically. You won’t need to hype anything up, or try to sell it; it will come naturally if you live it out intentionally.

It takes continual effort. Your culture is never set. As your church grows and new people become part of your church, the culture will drift. In very large churches, the same thing happens in the staff. When the culture drifts it’s not the people’s fault and it’s not the staff’s fault. It’s the responsibility of the senior pastor, key staff and board.

At 12Stone® Church where I serve as executive pastor, we have grown rapidly and experienced a slight culture drift amongst the staff. This is not the staff’s fault. It’s my responsibility. If I’ve not communicated something or modeled something, or corrected something, how can the staff be responsible? The good news is that our team is so positive, hard-working and passionate for the vision that slight culture corrections are not a big deal. If you wait, or miss it altogether, that’s quite another story.

Dr. Sam Chand has written an excellent book titled CRACKING YOUR CHURCH’S CULTURE CODE: Seven Keys to Unleashing Vision & Inspiration. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it. Sam doesn’t tell you what your culture should be, but helps guide you to experiencing the culture you want. He offers these helpful questions:

  • Who actually controls what gets done and what doesn’t?
  • Does everyone understand the why behind the what?
  • How is leadership discovered, developed and deployed?
  • How are changes made?
  • Is failure allowed?
  • Are risks taken?
  • Are the leaders courageous?
  • Does the team think systematically?
  • Who are your heroes?
  • How much does the average staff member feel he or she has input into the direction and strategy of the church?
  • Is there a spirit of hospitality and servant leadership?
  • Who is rewarded, and for what accomplishments?
  • What are the sacred cows?

The senior pastor is a major driving force in setting the culture. It’s not an autocratic thing; it’s a normal part of life and leadership. In fact, I believe this is one reason why churches that experience frequent senior pastor turnover struggle more with culture issues than churches that have a more tenured pastor. A tenured senior pastor is certainly not a guarantee to a healthy and thriving culture, but it’s one significant factor.

In essence, there are three driving factors that create culture.

1. What you do. 

No one church can do everything. Therefore what you do is an important expression of who you are. The prayerful selection of what ministries you do and don’t do is a major factor in setting the culture of your church. What you do (and don’t do) from global missions to local compassion and justice endeavors, to how you embrace first time guests to developing leaders all plays a significant role in shaping your culture. It’s true that culture is greatly impacted by things of style and preference like if your church is more casual or formal, and your style of worship, but what you actually do has a far greater impact.

2. How you do it.

Churches do ministry differently. That’s a given. We learn from each other, and some things are replicated, but there is an element of interpretation and factors such as leadership style, theology, priorities, finances, church history, size of church etc. that naturally cause the leaders to practice ministry a little differently from church to church. This has a huge impact on your culture.

3. What you care about. 

Let me be candid, as a leader you can’t care about everything! None of us like to admit that but it’s true. We don’t like the way that sounds because it suggests that there are some things we actually don’t care about. That’s not the heart of what I’m saying. The point is to be honest about the practical realities of leadership – and that connects back to point number one.

Here are a few questions that will help you land this point. 

  • What has God put on your heart?
  • What are the burdens for people you carry?
  • What keeps you awake at night because you feel something must be done?
  • What ministries are thriving and you are passionate about their future success?
  • What ministries are struggling that for you are non-negotiable and must improve?

If you follow this “5 Step” process, your culture is likely to flourish.

  1. Know your culture.
  2. Model your culture.
  3. Communicate your culture.
  4. Correct drift in your culture.
  5. Celebrate your culture.

At 12Stone our culture is felt, seen and quickly experienced. It is made up of three DNA strands and they are Spiritual Intensity, Creative Ideation, and Leadership Development. That’s not our purpose or mission, it’s our culture. That truly is who we are, and we invest much to keep that culture healthy and flourishing so that we can lift up the name of Jesus and see lives changed!

“This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland’s free monthly e-newsletter, “The Pastor’s Coach,” available at www.INJOY.com.”

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Dr. Chuck Balsamo — 12/14/15 10:35 am

Great article, Dan! I'm praying for your continued success in life and ministry. God bless you pal.

Recent Comments
Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.