So how do you build culture? Or, how do you reshape and grow culture? Here are several key factors to consider when building your organizational culture.

In a recent blog post, I talked about how organizational culture is guided by the significant things - your mission, priorities, values and beliefs - of your church or organization. Then, day to day, your culture is significantly impacted and really hinges on the small things, the many details that add up day in and day out. These smaller items - how people dress, how you communicate, the experience of team meetings, how you work through conflict and more - are critical to building and living out your team's culture (and ultimately achieving your mission).

So how do you build culture? Or, with an established team, how do you reshape and grow culture? These are important questions. They take time and attention to answer them well. Here are several key factors to consider when building your organizational culture.

Step #1 - Someone has to own it. (And a larger leadership team has to support it.) 

Your organization's culture - what drives the team and the day-to-day decisions, activities and conversations - will be built no matter what. You can be intentional about it. Or, you can leave it to chance. Our advice? Don't leave it to chance. It's bound to grow in a way that you didn't intend or want.

Instead, be proactive. Make it the job of one of your key leaders to oversee and lead your church's effort to build the organizational culture that God is calling you to have. Then, ensure that you and a larger leadership team are supporting this person's efforts to shape and support your culture. 

Step #2 - Name it.

In light of your organization's mission, priorities, values and beliefs, what kind of culture are you trying to encourage? Give shape to the culture - the personality, really - that you want your organization to have. Get your thoughts and goals down on paper. This document shouldn't be rigid, but it should be an ongoing guide that you can add to and revise as you go and grow that will help you and others know what you are striving for. Share these goals about your culture with leaders and the full organization. Get feedback and buy-in.  

Step #3 - Talk it up.

Your culture should be brought to life in many settings and conversations on a regular basis all throughout your church or organization. Every day, in fact. Leaders will point to attributes of your mission and culture in key meetings, retreats and annual reviews. You'll tell stories that point to your vision and culture with the full congregation again and again.   

Step #4 - Live it out.

Your culture shouldn't be most alive when it is described in the employee handbook. No way. Your leaders, staff and people (congregation) should be living it out in the things they say (and don't say), do, give, etc. And it starts with your leaders. They should embody the vision and culture of your church. And if they don't, that's an issue that you'll want to change (either their behavior or their position with the church).

Step #5 - Track it, so you can celebrate it.

Find ways to watch for and measure the success of your vision and culture. How is your organization growing? How are you achieving your mission? What important role are people playing in this effort? Find ways to track any meaningful numbers/stats and capture the stories of people making or experiencing an impact. Then, as often as possible, find compelling ways to worship God and to thank and celebrate the people - your staff, lay leaders, full congregation, community and others - who are living out your mission and culture. You can't overdo this one. You'll always win - for the sake of your mission and culture - as you worship, thank and celebrate!