What's Kind Of Culture Are You Creating?

Employees in every organization, and at every level, need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational.
— Lencioni

Things that we have learned about a healthy missional culture:

  • It is more valuable than anything else in our organization.
  • It is the greatest determinant of our long term success.
  • It is the most crucial element in overcoming obstacles.
  • It all starts with senior leadership.
  • It is strengthened or weakened with each subsequent hire.
  • It is the ultimate litmus test.
  • It is simply great business.
  • It is incredibly opposed.

We recently had the “opportunity” to hire a super salesman.  He was very familiar with our products and had a proven track record.  He had gone through all the preliminary levels of interviews and other necessary steps.  Our final step was to meet with some of our leaders to assess the cultural fit.  Getting clear on culture never seemed so essential as it did in this interview.

Team: The purpose of this next interview is to assess cultural fit.

Candidate: What does that mean?

Team: We know you can sell (do the job).  We are here to determine if you will align with, strengthen, and help advance our culture.

Candidate: And if I will?

Team: We’ll do everything in our power to get you to come here.

Candidate: And if I won’t?

Team: We’ll do everything in our power to keep you out.

He ended up at another company and we heard it was a disaster… despite his incredible ability and formidable track record.  That situation became a clear demarcation line for our team.  It was incredibly defining for our leadership.  It was the boldest proclamation of our culture and that conversation has echoed into many others.

Last week a few of our leaders attended the Global Leadership Summit.  One of their speakers was Don Flow, the Chairman and CEO of Flow Companies, Inc.  He told an incredible tale of Kingdom leadership in his companies.  Just after he spoke, one of the members of our leadership team, sent this to every member of the company:

“Check out the link above from the company bio page from Flow
Automotive Companies. The CEO from this company just gave an amazing
speech at the Summit (which is being seen in 105 countries) about
faith in the workplace and the culture that surrounds that . After
reading the page in the link above, see if you don’t agree with
me….that this could have easily been Scott Barr up on the screen
talking about SW and the way we love our clients, our employees and
our community in a God honoring way.

I’ve been filled up and overflowed with thankfulness and humility
listening to Don Flow talk and realizing that as employees of SW we
have been given a unique opportunity and responsibility to be a part
of such an organization worthy of being talked about in front of 105
countries. I can’t help but realize that if it was easy or common or
we weren’t blazing a trail but rather merely following a frequently
traveled path, than it probably wouldn’t have been a relevant topic
worth discussing at a summit such as this.

As we hear during whiffle in our meetings, that so many of us are
“thankful just to work here”, I thought this was a wonderful reminder
of the beautiful God given gift we have each been given to work here
at Southwest Exteriors.

It is a culture, it is unique, and it is our God ordained
responsibility to appreciate and protect it!’

It is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.  It is the most powerful determinant of your long-term success.  It is obtainable.  Nothing is more honoring to a father than when a child echoes back truth and nothing is more powerful for a leader’s heart than when the team owns the culture, vision, and values.  Nothing is more honoring to our Father than when we understand and intend His Kingdom on earth.  Doesn’t get much better than this.

  • Are you clear on the vision, values, purpose for you life?  (Leader clarity is the essential step before organizational clarity.  Scott and I found it through a Lifeplan.)
  • Is your organization clear on their vision, values, purpose?  (Southwest Exteriors and the whole OFB vision was cast and determined through a Strategic Enterprise Retreat.)
  • What would you be willing to sacrifice to realize the kind of culture that the employee spoke about in the quote above?