The DNA of a Healthy Team

May 21, 2012

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“Healthy cultures never happen by accident. They are created.”
“The number one force that shapes your culture is your values.”
“What we value determines what we do.”

The preceding quotes come from a talk Craig Groeschel gave at the Catalyst Conference recently. They help us discuss the next step in our series, United We Move: Building a Team Culture.

After setting the vision before the group, the next step is to create the culture or values by which we steward things. This enable us to build a healthy team.

Culture is what makes you unique or different. In ministry or family, there are many models. Your values are what determine how you will do things.

When I speak to people interested in joining our team in Africa, I tell them our values. This is our DNA, making us different than other programs. They do not make us better, but define our uniqueness.

For our team in Africa, we have set the values of:

Grace
Balanced Lifestyle
Team/ Tribe/Family
Application
Africa Focused

Many Bible teaching ministries do similar things, but our values direct HOW we will do it and what will be unique in our approach.

Andy Stanley, at the same Catalyst conference, was speaking about organizational culture. He said, “Healthy cultures attract and keep healthy people. The healthier the organization, the quicker the unhealthy people are identified.”

dna

Values or DNA are formed based on a number of elements. When setting them, you need to consider the following:

– The Leader – Culture of a team is going to reflect the leader. I included some of my values in my team’s DNA. As the leader, I must lead in the things that I am passionate about . Our team values above closely resemble my personal ones.

– The Culture/Area – If a team will be affective, they must speak “the language” of the people. We work with a team in Africa, so we focus on Africa. In this continent, it is essential to minster to the whole, not the individual, hence our value on team/tribe/family.

Plenty of great people have inquired about working with us. If they do not have a heart for Africa or they are more interested in instruction rather than transformation, I am able to encourage them to look for another ministry.

 – Long Term Success – Lots of techniques work for the short-term, but Andy Stanley also says, “The culture of an organization impacts its long-term productivity.” We do not want a flash in the pan, short-term ministry. We want to build something that outlasts us. This led us to desire team members who have a balance in their lives of work, ministry, play, rest, fun, and personal disciplines.

Culture is always easier to set as the pioneer of a work. When you are the founder, you set the tone.

It is much more difficult to bring change where a culture already exists. This goal is reachable with purposeful effort and much patience.  Make decisions that move towards change, even if no one notices.

Having defined values enables you to answer the “Who are we?” question.

Couple this with the vision, and you know who you are and where you are going! This is the beginning of success.

What other advice would you give to someone attempting to create or change a culture?

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Chris

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God