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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

10 Oct '13

Crafting the culture of your organization

Posted by T.J. Addington in culture, organizational culture
It is perhaps one of the most important jobs of a leader: crafting the culture of their organization. Whether in ministry or business, when the culture is healthy and life giving one attracts and retains the best staff and they will weather all kinds of challenges together. The corollary is that where the corporate culture is unhealthy it breeds all kinds of dysfunctional relationships, politics, lack of cooperation, turf wars and general discontent.

Leaders often pay far too little attention to culture in their desire to deliver on the bottom line but it is a big mistake. A life giving culture is one of the most important keys to ministry or business success. 

Think of all the time and energy that it expended dealing with dysfunctional relationships, politics, lack of cooperation and turf wars. Eliminate those life taking dynamics from the workplace and all kinds of great things can be accomplished. In fact, in healthy cultures these kinds of behaviors are not permitted and are anti values for the whole staff.

How does one craft a life giving culture? First leaders model what they desire from their staff. People will hear what one says but they will pay attention to what they experience with their leader. Culture always starts with leaders who either live out life giving or life taking behaviors.

Second, leaders clarify the values, guiding principles or behaviors that they expect to be lived out in the organization. Many leaders don't realize how much influence they have in this regard. If that clarity is lived out by the senior leader and his/her staff, others will start to get the picture and move in that direction.

Third, leaders make it clear that there are behaviors that are not allowed and back it up with action when necessary. When we allow dysfunctional behaviors to exist it sends a message that we are not really serious about the values we espouse.

Here are some of the cultural pieces we have been intentional about creating in ReachGlobal.


  • Health: Healthy individuals, healthy teams and healthy leaders. This includes emotional, relational, spiritual and skill health.
  • Robust dialogue: Any issue can be put on the table with the exception of personal attacks or hidden agendas.
  • Graciousness: How we communicate matters and we respect one another.
  • Autopsy without blame: Bad things will happen and when they do we will seek to learn from it without assigning blame.
  • Whatever it takes: We will do whatever it takes to get the job done and are flexible on strategy but not on our philosophical underpinnings.
  • Team: We work together well.
  • Trust: We trust one another and deal with it when that trust is violated.
  • Promises: We keep them.
  • Development: We develop and grow people in our desire to see them reach their full potential.
  • Accountability: We deal with situations where behaviors do not match our desired culture.
What culture are you creating? Is it intentional or accidental?