While metrics can be indicative of whether or not systems and methods are working, they typically don’t give the best snapshot of the health of an organization’s culture. 

It’s the mission statement, vision, and strategy of an organization that all work together to determine its purpose and direction. A thriving culture is created with the same level of care and intentionality. Below are four values that, if embraced by an organization’s leadership, can help team members thrive while contributing to sustainable success.

Innovation: There is a fine line between honoring tradition and being stuck in antiquated practices. 

History and traditions can inform us about where we have been and the events, both positive and negative, that led us to where we are today. Over time, the methods we use in bringing our mission to life must adjust to shifting cultural and developmental norms. However, organizations and individuals alike can become attached to now-underperforming methods because of comfort or the age-old excuse of “it’s how we’ve always done things.” 

Dynamic leaders and organizations have an underlying value of innovation to improve processes, reach an ever-changing market, and keep employees engaged and invested. This isn’t simply a matter of relevance; it’s the recognition that submitting to the same methods will only yield the quality of results that have already been experienced. It’s important to embrace the temporary discomfort of necessary endings in order to take strides toward a preferred future. 

To put it plainly, organizations that refuse to innovate have expiration dates. 

The Power of “No”: Staying laser-focused on your mission.

As we reinforce the value of innovation, we will begin to see a wave of new ideas, opportunities, and initiatives begin to surface. As exciting and refreshing as this may be, it brings to light another challenge: knowing which opportunity is the right one to pursue.

  1. Are they in alignment with our overall mission and direction?
  2. Which opportunity will yield the best results (in both value and measurables)?
  3. Which opportunity will advance our mission the furthest and fastest?

While it can be easy to say no to stale or poorly-conceived ideas, it can be especially difficult to determine the best path forward when each path is in the right direction. Because of this, we can find ourselves green-lighting a bunch of good things that may ultimately prevent us from having the resources to do the best thing for our organization.

Fun: Loving where you work.

One of the greatest gifts of working for faith or values-based organizations is contributing to a powerful impact in the lives of others. Leaders, especially younger leaders, want to love what they do, but, at the same time, it is just as important for them to love where they work.

Creating an employee-focused culture of care, celebration, and fun will lead to communicating that organizations want their employees to thrive. It’s imperative that we value our team members beyond their job function, and for us to create an environment that positively contributes to their holistic health. When employees experience the combination of loving what they do AND where they do it, they often have longer tenures and will aggressively recruit other highly-talented connections to join your team.

If you don’t care for your teams enough to ensure they experience this reality, don’t be surprised when they leave for an organization that does.

Better Together: The team outperforms the individual, every time.

Across the history of sports, certain players have radically changed a game’s trajectory as soon as they entered the playing field. But, regardless of how many times they “put the team on their back” on the way toward a victory, those players wouldn’t have been successful playing solo against their opponents.

The success of our churches is no different. Some organizations are centered around the skills and personality of a central figure. But, there are many people working behind the scenes that create the platform the primary leader can stand on. It takes a wide range of talent and gifting to produce opportunities, environments, and methods in which people connect to the organization. Churches that are growing in their reach celebrate the impact of each team member and leverage the unique gifts, passions, and experiences that an employee brings to the table.

If, as leaders, we regularly find ourselves exhausted or crippled by the amount of pressure we feel to carry the organization, it’s likely time to lean into the team we have been entrusted with to more efficiently advance the mission of our organization.