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How To Know When A Team Member Has “The Culture”

When it comes to the workplace, staff culture is a massive subject. Entire blogs, books and business practices have been written and built around creating a healthy staff culture.  Companies like Belay, Google, Amazon and more are being celebrated for the healthy, fun and inspiring staff cultures they create.

Here at Element Church we have had our ups and downs.  We have had seasons where staff culture was at an all time high.  We have also had seasons where the staff culture was headed down a very unhealthy path.  Currently, we seem to be in a very good place.  Sure, we still have hiccups here and there like every team, but overall, one of the things that comes up frequently about “how we are doing” is just being in a great place as a staff.

Compared to the places like I mentioned above, and others, we have a long way to go.  In fact, I just picked up the book “Work Rules” by Laszlo Block which chronicles some insights from Google that can help you in creating a positive staff culture.  All that to say, I’m always looking for signs that our staff, specifically new ones, are being immersed into our family well.

Upon my return from this summers three month sabbatical, I was informed about a new process we have for small group leaders to get plugged into our system and get the ball rolling on launching their group.  I was incredibly pleased with the initiative of our groups team to think this through and implement the process, even while I was away.

Because I wanted to start a group this Fall, I filled out the necessary form online and waited to receive confirmation that I was in the loop.  John, who is serving on our staff as a resident, is helping Pastor Andy (Associate Pastor) with many of the groups systems and structures.  He has been tasked with the follow up process for all potential group leaders.

Now keep in mind, I only met John one time on his residency interview last Spring.  He arrived on staff after I left on sabbatical.  I had been back on the team for less than a week when I filled out the groups form and received the following email from John.

After reviewing your responses to our Group Leader Interest form, I guess we will let you lead a small group. Our leader values form states that our leaders will commit themselves to regular attendance at Sunday worship services, and our attendance records show that you seem to have taken the summer off.  We’ll let it slide this time, but don’t let it happen again…at least for another 10 years.
I’ll send you the Right Now Media training we are having our new small group leaders go through. Take time to peruse it if you like.  It’s pretty basic, but there is some good stuff in there.
I’ll have you fill out this form to give me the information for your group so I can create it on CCB:
Lastly, would you like this group advertised on our website, or do you wish to recruit members by word of mouth?
John Wilson
Assistant Pastor Resident
Upon receiving this email, I immediately responded back to John letting him know how much I loved his comments at the top.  I felt it was a sign that he was “in” on the team.  The fact that he felt comfortable enough to give that opening response to the senior pastor after only being around him for a few days told me that he was immersed in our staff culture.
Sarcasm is not a spiritual gift, but our staff has been blessed with loads of it.  We have an absolute blast ribbing each other, making jokes and laughing about our humanity.  I don’t think I laugh anywhere else more than when I’m with our staff.
I know this is a small thing, but it was a sign that something was sticking.  It doesn’t take much to figure out if people are buying into the culture or not.  All you have to do is look at their behavior.  Yes, we can adopt the bad parts of a culture as well, and they do exist, but I hope that we keep building into our team a positive, inspiring, fun work environment.