The culture of an organization reflects the values of the organization and will drive everything inside the organization. In fact, I will assert that culture is the most dynamic force in an organization because it is the outward expression of the organization’s internal values that are held as firm convictions by the people inside the organization. Emphasizing the organizational strength and power of culture, Dr. Sam Chand, author of Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code, says “Culture will eat vision for lunch!” I believe this statement by Dr. Chand because everything in an organization will ultimately revolve around the written and unwritten culture code inside the organization. Understanding the unseen powerful dynamic of culture is extremely important for faith-based leaders if they desire to build an organization that glorifies God, benefits others, and endures in the marketplace. I believe faith-based leaders can only effectively do this by intentionally developing the organization’s culture code with practical faith-based values communicated in the make-it-happen language of the marketplace.
Culture Development Clarifies Core Ideology And Builds An Organization That Lasts
In their book, Built To Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras write, “Core ideology defines the enduring character of an organization – its self-identity that remains consistent through time and transcends product / market life cycles, technological breakthroughs, management fads, and individual leaders. Core ideology provides the bonding glue that holds an organization together as it grows, decentralizes, diversifies, expands globally, and attains diversity within.” Core ideology that is well defined within the organization’s core values and also well reflected in the organization’s culture will effectively empower organizational leaders to build the organization in a way that will stand the tests of time. This is true because core values provide the character definition of the organization and culture provides the life expression of the organization’s character as it exists through time.
Developing Culture Builds The Internal Foundation Required For External Growth And Expansion
Any farmer knows that a seed can only reproduce after its own kind. It would be completely foolish for a farmer to plant watermelon seeds and expect to harvest tomatoes because watermelons can only reproduce watermelons. In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus further affirms the principles of reproduction in the kingdom of God by stating, “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs never grow on thorn bushes, nor grapes on bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” These principles of reproduction affect all forms of reproduction including organizational reproduction; therefore, before an organization starts reproducing itself through growth and expansion, it is absolutely imperative that the organization’s core values are clearly defined and appropriately reflected in its culture because the organization will simply reproduce after its own kind. Noble, strong, God-honoring, people-loving organizations will reproduce noble, strong, God-honoring, people-loving teams, departments, branches, divisions, regions, and new corporate entities.
To help organizations effectively develop the organizational culture that fully reflects the organization’s core values, I recommend the following 4 practical steps to developing culture:
- Clearly define an organizational core values statement based upon a timeless enduring core ideology that can be effectively communicated to the people inside the organization over and over and over and over again.
- Write, tell, and archive well scripted organizational stories that effectively communicate the core values of the organization to the people inside the organization and tell those stories over and over and over and over again.
- Strategically design frequent celebrations and planned events that encourage people inside the organization to celebrate the core values of the organization over and over and over and over again.
- Conduct semi-annual culture surveys to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the organization’s life expression of the organization’s core values through the perceptions and feedback of every person inside the organization and to make appropriate life expression adjustments that continually clarify the core values over and over and over and over again.
Thank you and have a blessed “Make It Happen” day!
Culture Development – Rx For Expansion Copyright 2013, The Make It Happen Learning Institute. You have permission to reprint Culture Development – Rx For Expansion, in its entirety only, and forward to your colleagues and friends, provided the copyright notice remains part of the reprint and transmission. All other rights reserved.