What culture does your web team have? If you are a team of one, that is an easy question. But it is more difficult if an entire communications team supports your church. If you are the leader, you have a heavy burden on your shoulders. You dictate what the culture is for your team. Here are a few insights on how you can positively impact your mission.
This article was first inspired by a CEO's talk about their company's growth. They predicted the company would grow rapidly in the coming years. They then also said that the culture is in our hands as the company evolves. I thought this was an odd thing to say. Wasn't the culture passed down, not pushed up? A podcast episode on leadership confirmed my suspicions. Craig Groeschel, pastor at Life Church, talked about how leaders impact a culture. Here are some main points and how I feel they apply to church communications teams.
Create and Allow
What you create, and what you allow shapes your culture. This is important when dealing with computers and the Internet. Concerns range from playing games, to accessing pronographic sites. But smaller things such as attire, and how messy a desk can be influence culture. If you create rules, stick to them. If there seems to be unrest with your team, address it head on. There may be places you can relax. But other areas might not be up for discussion. For greater impact, have Biblical references for your decision.
Values determine what we do and believe. So what are your values? Are they known? If not, they are as good as not even created. Work with your leadership and web team to determine what your values are. This may take a while, and involve a lot of compromise. But in the end, you need to have a few bullet points that everyone can agree on. Then print them out so everyone can see them on a regular basis. Lastly, stick to them. Your value may be all about delivering a quality experience. If so, do not cut corners because someone is complaining about timelines. This brings me to the next point.
Actions, not Talk
People pay attention to what are you doing, not what are you saying. In other words, you must follow through with your value statements. Your values mean nothing if they do not create actions. So do your best to not let politics and personal agenda to sway your team's goals. Pray for guidance, then push forward with what is best for your users.
To illustrate this, I will use a story about Apple. Before a product press release, Apple would take down their website. Then based on some last minute testing, Steve Jobs would determine if a product launched. If the design did not meet his standards, he would not show it. In that case, a version of the website without that product would launch. This is of course an extreme case of design driving a company. But it shows that they had values that would drive their actions.
Whomever is in charge of your church dictates its culture. Also, you will add to this as a web team leader. Work with leadership to define your values. Then guide your group by what you allow. Finally, commit to your values with actions. Show leadership, team, volunteers, and your users that you mean what you say. With that series of actions, a culture you believe in will flourish. And with a well defined culture, you will attract talent that better aligns with it.
Photo courtesy of Nevit Dilmen