Culture can Crush you or Catapult You
Recently at our 3rd Annual Small Market Beach Summit, I felt compelled to share some things with our attendees that I have heard and seen even more since early January with ministries I am working with.
Truth of the matter is, what I am about to share has not always been easy for me, nor do I have it all figured out.
But, one thing I do know for sure is that the Culture of your ministry or organization can crush you or catapult you to greatness.
As the great James Maxwell said, “everything comes down to leadership.” And I would put a close second to that would be CULTURE, which is often defined (both when it is good or bad) by the leader.
At the end of the day, the buck of defining the culture or not defining the culture lands on the desk of the leader.
Many times, early on in my career/ministry, I was so tired trying to keep up that my ‘lack’ of defining the culture was simply because I had no energy left to put towards that chore. As I have gotten older, I realize that is one of the primary places I should be putting that energy because culture defines so many other things in the organization.
Most of our ministries’ goal is is to impact the our community/world and the truth is until we impact the people within the building, we will have little ability to impact people outside our buildings/studios.
Could it be what’s happening INSIDE the ministry is hindering our impact OUTSIDE the ministry?
Culture starts with knowing who we are personally and organizationally and what God has specifically called our ministry to do. When we start comparing ourselves to other ministries, replicating exactly what they attempt to do, etc. we are using a map God gave another ministry as our road map for us. Sure, there are principles we can live by that others do, and things we can emulate in our ministries that other ministries do, but until we have a clear purpose for ourselves, we will be running from one thing to another with no clear purpose and that communicates an unhealthy culture.
I recently asked a group I was helping to define their mission. In a group of 15 people, not one person could state it. And there were no unified ideas even as to what their purpose was.
Your ministry will never grow beyond your leadership. Is there something you need to do to grow to the level you need to get to?
What is preventing you from doing it?
I’ve heard a friend of mine (Bill Sammons) say “Culture is more than what you do; it’s what you tolerate.” Very true.
What you tolerate communicates volumes to your team, and to your listeners/donors/partners. There are several aspects of culture that especially affect fundraising. Since this is one of our primary focus areas with Heart Share, I have developed a list over the last 15 years of what I would suggest are the TOP 4 aspects of culture that influence fundraising (both positively or negatively).
1-Credibility: We can lose credibility among people by our behavior OR we can gain it. One station I get to serve, for example, has its volunteers/staff show up no later than 5:30am for the 6am kick off on the first day of their fundraiser. What does that communicate to volunteers/donors/team? It says we want to be prepared, ready, and launch off the week on the same page as a team.
2-Expectation: We can demonstrate expectancy (or a lack thereof) by the culture of expectancy. For example, do we have less than enough people to answer phones for the fundraiser? Do we look like we are expecting God to show up? If we don’t look like we are expectant, why should he show up?
3-Team Work: Requiring every team member to be involved during fundraisers says it’s “everyones job” to do fundraising. So someone can’t say “my job isn’t a part of fundraising.”
4-Focus: Creating a culture where we are focused on the task at hand is important. I was recently serving with a team where when one person was talking, other people were talking to one another. The culture that existed was obvious. When someone is sharing with the group, their input isn’t important, because the leader allowed pockets of other conversations to happen while someone else was sharing.
All of these things can add up to Catapult You forward or Crush you from being all that God wants your station to be. Next staff meeting, ask your team what they think about your ministry culture.
If our team can help, reach out and let me know!
Jack Eason is the President of The Heart Share Group, an organization dedicated to helping organizations reach their full potential through leadership development, brand development, and partnership development. Heart Share serves Christian radio through donor development strategies, fundraising initiatives (including on-air campaigns and major donor support), and creative partnerships. Contact Jack at email@example.com…