You Can’t Claim Culture
Leaders love to talk about culture. We tout the culture we’ve built in our churches. We brag on the cohesive culture in our teams. We lament the toxic corners of staff culture, praise the infectious culture of our congregational outreach, and question the alignment of culture across ministries.
But we can’t simply say that a culture exists. The culture has to actually exist. It’s one thing to make an aspirational statement: We strive to be a place where… It’s an entirely different thing for that statement to be true.
In his book Win the Customer, Flavio Martins says this:
A customer service culture isn’t what you claim to be; it’s what you are.
This is akin to the conversation I had with a staff member several years ago. As we debriefed several things that were not up to par at a weekend gathering, the staffer said, “Well, you just caught us on an off weekend.”
The problem was, those same negatives had happened each and every time I’d dropped by in the past. So no, that’s not just an “off weekend”…that’s your weekend.
This week, take a moment to look at your teams. Your toxicity (or lack thereof) in relationships. The mission statements on your wall or on your website. Is your culture something you are claiming to have, or is it something you actually have?
Don’t just claim your culture. Prove it.