I love our staff and culture at Church Community Builder. We have spent a lot of time investing in a culture that helps our associates feel valued, cared for, and fulfilled. That has paid off in a variety of ways, not the least of which is a high level of respect and care for our church partners. This is a principle that plays out in a lot of businesses you are familiar with. Think Southwest Airlines, Zappos, or Nordstrom. Does it play out in your church? Is your staff culture so healthy that it results in ministries that work beautifully together and congregants who feel a deep sense of belonging? If not, have you considered new ways to focus on improving your culture this year? Healthy cultures don’t just happen. They come as a result of intentional investment.
There are a lot of ideas out there on this topic — so much so that it can be overwhelming. Like most new strategies, however, it is best to begin by identifying some core principles which can drive the details and tactics.
Four Solid Principles to Start With
- Embrace. It’s always best to start by truly understanding who you have on your team. What personalities are in the mix? What strengths do they have? Does your organizational structure allow everyone to operate in ways that leverage those strengths? Consider starting with an assessment tool like Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, and DISC.
- Educate. Invest in the education of your staff. Go through books together that will help develop each staff member both on a personal level and in the workplace. One of my all-time favorites remains The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Almost every team in our organization has gone through this book at least once.
- Encourage. There is a ton of value in helping people create personal development plans based on what they learn about themselves as they read books and/or attend conferences. In addition to encouraging the actual implementation of what is learned, it also instills a healthy level of accountability.
- Empower. Finally and most importantly, develop clarity of vision and boundaries which allows your staff the freedom to try new things and occasionally fail. Nothing is more powerful than the lessons we learn in failure. If you don’t allow it to happen, you’ll develop a staff of people who accomplish tasks but are rarely innovative — and that’s just plain boring!
Intentional investment in the development of your staff should be priority one this year. The trickle-down effect to every ministry, every volunteer, every member, and every first-time visitor will be well worth the effort.
What message is your staff culture sending about your church?