Culture Speaks


Culture Speaks

By: Danielle Wingate


Currently I am reading a great piece by Todd Wilson, Dream Big Plan Smart. Being a leadership learning junkie as well as a ministry enthusiast, I love books like this that are simple, straight to the point and easy application to take and personalize for any team dynamic or culture.

Wilson references the simple breakdown of culture in three simple components:

Core values, Narratives & Behaviors.

Core Values: What we really care about deep down—they shape our thoughts and our actions.

Narratives: Shaped by the language we use—the stories we tell and how frequently we talk and celebrate the things most important to us.

Behaviors: The things we actually do—how and where we invest our time, talent and financial resources entrusted to us.

With our teams it’s imperative to start with the core values to establish culture and re-visit it often to remain true to it. From the core values, we can build outward to the narratives and then the behaviors. Looks good and sounds good from an inward view.

When working with our guests we have to take an outward view and work inward to balance and check on the effectiveness of our internal approach.

Here are some examples of behaviors that speak to the culture of your church or organization:

  • When a line forming or a waiting experience occurs, what is the system? Who interacts with the guest when their time has arrived? What is the verbiage used with the waiting guest?
  • If an entryway into the auditorium has closed, what is the verbiage and mannerism instructed to use to inform guests of another available entry or access point?
  • When the auditorium is filling with guests who need to move to an overflow space, what is their experience with the team, the environment and the verbiage used to get them there?
  • When a volunteer or employee is joining a team, how do you communicate, invest and connect with them?

All of these behaviors say something. Indirectly or directly the actions and approach are the first experience and the loudest messages a guest will ever hear. Behaviors build a narrative with the guest and the volunteers, which in turn build a belief of what your core values are. The good news is that your system of checks & balances exists.

I want to encourage you to take time with your team and over the next few weeks begin to break this down into bite-size pieces:

  • Isolate a specific category to evaluate (ex. Auditorium filling and transition to overflow).
  • Identify peak times this happens, the core teams in place when this happens, and the current team numbers to accommodate this.
  • Share specific coaching, training or communication used to prepare teams for this.
  • Identify areas of confusion, frustration and main pain points.
  • Review the overflow process and timeline. Everything from environment to the point of contact that makes the call to transition to overflow.
  • Share ideal experience based on heart and core values.
  • Cross- reference reality vs./ ideal experience.
  • Formulate a plan to address the pain points and begin to make small tweaks for improvement.

People are walking into churches and businesses everyday for the first time and the last time. We can’t afford to miss key moments of experience that connect them to a message of truth and hope in Jesus or being a part of your company family.

Pray and be excited for your team as you build this out![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”386″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

Danielle is passionate about creating and supporting systems that improve the guest experience from beginning to end.  She has been part of some amazing church staff teams and now spends her time supporting churches and leaders through consulting.  She is the founder of Catalyst Women, an online space to share stories and invite women to be the change.
Danielle lives in Seattle with her husband Chris, two kids and giant schnauzer.  She is a fan of any good local coffee shop and enjoys a vanilla latte with coconut milk!