How Healthy is Your Culture?


I believe that one of the primary, if not THE most important responsibilities of leadership is to create a CULTURE of health and vitality. We give an enormous amount of time on things that are ultimately superficial and often very little time on things that are at the core of creating a sustainable, successful organization. The culture we create through the systems we set up, either intentionally or unintentionally, will determine whether we manage by crisis, by dysfunction, or manage by pre-determined values and principles. Here are some of the diagnostic questions we should ask about our organization:

Do we address issues, or do we let them remain unspoken?

Do we respond to or address issues with honesty and with forthrightness, or are others often wondering what we “really” think?

Do we take ownership for things gone wrong, or do we make excuses or pass blame?

Do we make it safe and acceptable for people to offer their opinions, or do we label them as trouble-makers or not being “team” players?

Do we allow input and ideas to flow bottom up from those who are actually going to carry the work out?

Do we do constant, ongoing, ruthless assessment of our systems, programs and performance or only when a glitch happens?

Do we allow dysfunctional individuals to hijack our meetings, thwart our efforts and thereby rule our organizations, or do we confront unhealthy team members and hold them accountable to healthy interaction?

Lastly, and most difficult, do we confront our own toxic fears, behaviors and attitudes that are contaminating our organization, or do we give ourselves a pass because we’re the boss?

The answers to these questions will probably not help your church or organization explode with growth. But they just make help keep it from imploding one day. And for many of us, they will take care of most of what is really keeping us up at night!

Patrick Lencioni’s book “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything” is a good read for continuing this thought. Go be a thermostat for YOUR culture!


Post contributed by Steve Chiles, Senior Pastor at the Shartel Church of God in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Team Leader for the 2016 Leadership Network Gathering.

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