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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.

29 Oct '11

Building healthy ministry cultures

Posted by T.J. Addington in Healthy leaders, organizational culture
Leaders often do not often think of themselves as culture creators but that is exactly what they are. Whether intentionally or unintentionally we create a culture for our organization through our commitments, actions and words. In fact, every interaction we have with others, individually or corporately, contributes over time to a specific culture that the ministry absorbs and makes its own for better or worse. This is why dysfunctional leaders create dysfunctional organizations and healthy leaders healthy organizations.


The reason leaders are culture creators is that others in the organization take their cues from their leader as to what is acceptable or unacceptable in the organization. For instance, leaders who are lax on keeping their commitments and following through send a message that execution is not a high priority. On the other hand, leaders who are disciplined and focused send a very different message. Intuitively, the organization reads their leader(s) and the organization takes on the MO of the leader. 


Good leaders are intentional about defining the culture they desire for the organization and ensuring that their actions and words reflect those core convictions. In other words, they carefully craft a culture that over time becomes the culture of the group. It is intentionally rather than accidentally created.


I just checked out of an amazing hotel in Saigon. Over the past three days I had interactions with dozens of hotel staff and to a person they were attentive, cordial and wonderfully helpful. The fact that there were no exceptions sent a strong message about their culture of service and hospitality. It is the culture of this hotel created by its leaders. 


Organizational culture is powerful because it defines the ethos of the group. That ethos defines the health of the group and is a major factor in the satisfaction of staff and the quality of new staff the organization attracts. The healthier the organizational culture the better the staff it will attract and retain. The opposite is also true.


As I think about the ethos we are seeking to intentionally create in ReachGlobal I would define it with these markers. As you read these, think about the list you would have for your ministry and consider writing them down and ensuring that you are focused on making them the ethos of your organization.


-Collegial and collaborative
-Highly focused with an emphasis on results
-Disciplined in execution
-Entrepreneurial in spirit
-Attentive to and empowered by the Holy Spirit
-Great attention to the health of individuals, teams and leaders
-Leveraged for the best results
-Empowered staff
-Kingdom focused
-A culture of grace with a commitment to accountability