Imagine two row boats in a race: boat #1 has 10 rowers vigorously rowing in sync, in the same
direction, cheering each other on. Boat #2 has 5 rowers rowing in the same direction (but not
quite in sync and not quite all out), 2 rowers who are arguing about which direction to row, 1
rower who is asleep, 1 rower who is rowing in the opposite direction, and 1 rower who is trying
to sink the boat. Which boat wins? Culture is the single factor that will determine what is
happening in your boat. Culture is the sole responsibility of the leader – you will either build a
healthy culture by intention, or allow a dysfunctional culture by default. People will get in the
boat because of the mission or a great job opportunity, but they’ll get out (or get tossed
overboard) if the culture is not healthy. People don’t leave organizations or missions, they leave
leaders. Bill Hybels, senior leader of Willowcreek Church, says, “staff cultures will only be as
healthy as the senior leader wants it to be.” A healthy culture ensures that the right people are
in the boat, that they find the best seat for their gifts and strengths, that all the rowers are
synced up and rowing in the same direction, and that every rower is fully engaged because they
show up every day exclaiming, “I was born for this! I can’t imagine doing anything else! This is
what makes me feel alive!” And a healthy culture gets results. How are things in your boat?
Like the example of the two row boats above, it’s astonishing how much more productive a
flourishing culture is from a dysfunctional or toxic culture. Patrick Lencioni, leading author on
Organizational Health, says that it now trumps everything else in business.
Has God called you to lead?
Then He’s called you to be a culture-bearer, to build and enrich a strong and healthy team
culture. There’s no short cut in cultivating culture, it takes time and effort and skill. But it will lay
the foundation and create the momentum that will save much time and effort in the long run.
Although creating Organizational Health is a challenge for any leader, it's actually pretty
practical and fairly simple!
Let me help you navigate your roadmap to Organizational Health. The process starts with a conversation, getting to know you and your team and understanding your goals for your organization. The Roadmap follows a systematic process, drawing from some of the best authors out there on leadership and organizational health:
Step 1 – Identify Your Visionary Framework
Objective: Learn the relevance of the “Visionary Framework” which creates a context for building team and culture and gives the team members a common vision to work toward. Identify the core of the organization that will never change and create an envisioned future that rallies the organization and inspires innovation.
Step 2 – Build an Effective Team
Objective: Understand the principle dynamics of creating an effective team. Establish desired team behaviors that will lead to the results you want.
Step 3 – Sync up the Team – The Diversity of Temperaments, Strengths and Spiritual Gifts
Objective: Learn to appraise and appreciate the diversity on the team. Look at Temperaments, Leadership Strengths, and the Motivational and Ministry Gifts – how they sync up on a team, what they supply, and potential conflicts.
Step 4 – Create Clarity for the Team
Objective: Avoid confusion and cross-purposes by establishing “what’s most important right now.” Clarity builds on the Visionary Framework by identifying an organization's Strategy and a singular, qualitative, short-term Strategic Goal. Clarity also separates the important day to day objectives that must be maintained from the strategic objectives that stimulate progress.
Step 5 – Identify a Meeting Structure that Works
Objective: Understand the dynamic role that meetings play in team cohesion and effectiveness. Establish a results-oriented meeting structure that best serves the team.
Step 6 – Communicate Clarity throughout the Organization
Objective: Identify and establish communication structures and protocols for the team and for the organization that help everyone “know what’s going on around here”.
Step 7 – Reinforce Clarity through People Systems
Objective: Look at existing people systems and processes within the team and organization and ensure they reinforce “what’s important”. The Leadership Pipeline is the ultimate outcome of this step, creating the mechanisms which ensure your organization has the leaders it needs to preserve the culture and expand capacity.
Step 8 – Lead Perpetual Change
Objective: Learn a practical framework for navigating through change. As the organization moves toward their envisioned future, change will be continuous and not everyone likes change. Understand and minimize the pitfalls of leading change.