As kids, we were told in school that we had the potential to change the world.
Then through 12 years of various subjects in academia that personally missed the mark on that goal, we were let loose into the world and expected to have somehow have the knowledge and the habitual behaviours to champion such an endeavour. We were given the keys to a vehicle that had the potential to get to a great destination but no instructions on how to operate it.
That vehicle is culture.
Culture captivates all five senses when you walk into a room. It can arrest the conscious and unconscious. It gives you an appetite for it when you’re distant from it and an awareness when you’re surrounded by it. Even when it’s off. It reeks of intentionality.
Throughout time, we’ve watched a series of great leaders grasp the plow of culture and cultivate followings and shift the course of time… but how?
Three cultures that will dynamically shift your personal and corporate world
1. A CULTURE OF HONOUR.
We get this wrong in the business world far too often.
Typically, we treat honour like a carrot dangling before a horse. If someone does something worthy of honour, we’ll graciously give it to them. But this style of honour is backwards. Honour based on circumstantial behaviour degrades the individual worthy of it down to their actions. Since we are human beings and fallible, it sets the tone that when our leaders miss the mark because of human nature, we punish them by withholding what they’re individually worthy of.
You and I are cultivators and architects of our honour. The ball is in our court.
No one ever became a great leader without serving in some capacity first. Honour is a heart decision and the recipient’s worthiness should never be a factor.
When you create a culture where honouring all around is a non-negotiable, you will keep people that others undervalued because of their shortcomings. You’ll gather a tribe of people who are bettering one another by serving them at a humanity level and not a performance level. Not every athlete is on their game every day, but that doesn’t devalue the gift they carry.
Romans 12:10 states, “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Honour gives eviction notices to gossip in the workplace and deposits trust amongst your team. Nothing will empower a team more than trust amongst its members.
2. A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE
The art of excellence is lost. Abandoned, even it seems.
Customer service is at an all-time low. Attention to detail is substituted for mass production.
This is what happens in survival mode.
It results from two factors—lack of passion or lack of time. The common counterargument is, “We are all given the same amount of time,” but the difference maker is; what we prioritize. And typically, we will prioritize first what we’re most passionate about. See the cycle?
Excellence is not a feeling, mood or emotion. Excellence is a standard you embrace. When excellence is on display, it silently communicates statements like, “This matters” or more importantly, “You matter.” Excellence is an outward expression of our internal values.
Creating a culture of excellence begins with a return to the core values and purpose.
Does your business exist to serve people? If so, what do you value as a person? What makes you feel valued? People are drastically different but oddly similar in the sense that there’s something in us that refuses to settle for less than what we expect or what was agreed upon.
“Hard work is not punishment. Hard work is the price of admission for the opportunity to reach sustained excellence.”Jay Bilas
3. A CULTURE OF EXPECTATION.
I know, I know. This one seems out of place. But let me ask you this.
When’s the last time you were trying to fall asleep the night before something big and great was about to happen? You had some idea of how it would go, but many details were left to the imagination. It’s cravable. It’s knowing while leaving room for mystery. It’s an anticipative slow trek up the rollercoaster with the unknown waiting for you at the peak.
Jesus was a master at creating a culture of expectation. He took His audiences on a visual and narrated journey over three years, building their expectation for a monumental shift in government and faith.
Allowing your business or church to be predictable and unexpectant is giving permission for your audience to slip into familiarity.
Don’t get me wrong, a certain element of consistency is needed to ensure the same experience is being shared, but the level of expectation can be heightened by intentionally carving out a trail and taking your people through it.
Expectation is a powerful attribute.
It allows people to believe beyond the norm, work past the mediocre, and push to create an unforgettable experience. Set the expectation high, so your team pushes harder together for an experience that betters people’s lives and helps them believe there’s more beyond what they see.
Honour, excellence and expectation.
Think of the greatest leaders of our time and you’ll see how these three cultures were the foundations they built revolutions from.
Just imagine how these same cultures could revolutionize your world or business.
- Assess the current culture of your church, business or team. How would you rate each of the above on a scale of 1-10. Which of the above three cultures is the weakest in your personal life or organization?
- Decide 1-3 clear and measurable ways to improve it over the next three months.
- Act. Assign someone to own the process and give them the responsibility, authority and resources to make it happen.
- Reaccess. At the end of three months reassess. Did you experience an improvement? What went right? What could you improve? What did you learn? What will you build upon for the next three months?