We all know that salsa makes the Mexican restaurant.
It’s the reason customers often come and keep returning. Let’s imagine for a moment that the people who make the salsa hate making the salsa. Our guess is that customers will taste it and feel it. But if the people making the salsa love the end product and what they do, they are going to talk about it, feel excitement, and you won’t contain the growth of that team or the customers.
The same is true with your ministry.
We’ve had the opportunity to help hundreds of churches, and we’ve noticed a trend with the 21st-century church: we’ve gotten really good at making salsa. We know how to make church work. But at some point we forgot that the secret sauce to a healthy church is the people who make it all happen—our teams.
Most churches and leaders have a big vision. And the team around you is probably bought into that vision. That’s why they work for you. But that’s not all that is needed for a healthy, thriving team culture.
Two Key Ingredients for Thriving Teams
We all want to create a culture people want to be part of, a contagious culture. Todd Henry in Herding Tigers talks about two things a team needs: stability and purpose.
Stability really translates to a sense of safety. Psychologically, your team needs to sense that it’s okay to fail and make a mistake. There can’t be unnecessary frustration. And expectations can’t be ambiguous.
The other side of safety is a sense of challenge or purpose. People need to know they are doing meaningful work and feel set up to win and do their best. People want to grow and be stretched without unnecessary stress.
This all comes down to building a culture of trust on your team.
The Six Core Values of a Contagious Culture
We’re culture consultants. But we can’t partner with churches and companies to create a unique, contagious culture unless we are nurturing and creating a culture on our own team. We believe it all comes down to establishing and infusing core values into the very fiber of our teams, strategies, and systems.
At ArtSpeak, we have established six core values and habits to practice so that our team is thriving and growing. We share these with you in the hopes that they spark ideas for your existing core values or as you work to create new values for your church.
Value 1: This is About People
The foundation for all our core values is summed up in one statement: this is about people.
Everything we do is all about the people we are ultimately seeking to reach and the life-changer clients we partner with. And we know the best way to care for our clients is to take care of our people—our team..
To practice this value, we’ve created habits and systems that help our team thrive and stay healthy. One way we do this is by setting and encouraging boundaries. For example, our team decides individually when they are finished working for the day to support the idea that rest is mandated by God and needed for flourishing.
Value 2: Gratitude is Our Operating System
Gratitude has truly changed the way we operate. We start every meeting by expressing gratitude to one another. This immediately reminds everyone they are part of a team, lowers stress, and grows perspective. This also reinforces safety. When people feel celebrated and a part of the big picture, they feel safe in their projects and roles.
Value 3: Empathetic Honesty
Part of our job is helping companies communicate well, and we believe empathy is at the core of all honest and impactful communication. But sometimes there are challenges to address.
Empathy creates trust and honesty. Separately, empathy and honesty can lead our team members astray. Paired together, these two principles propel our work forward.
We see this value in Scripture when we are called to speak the truth in love. Empathy understands. Honesty shares truth. This makes the problem the problem, and reminds team members that they are working towards the same goal.
Value 4: Confident Humility
The words “confident” and “humility” sound like they are competing postures, but they aren’t. One is required for the other. Confidence says, “I have value.” Humility says, “You have value.” If you have the clarity on who you are and the value that you bring, then you have the confidence to approach situations well.
As a habit to reinforce this value, we have a team feedback process at ArtSpeak, which creates a collaborative approach. We have to share the value of what we created and have the humility to listen and receive feedback. More happens collaboratively than happens individually. Collaboration creates innovation.
Value 5: Imperfect Excellence
Imperfect excellence is even more of a juxtaposition, but we have seen this value work beautifully. Perfection is about self. Excellence is about serving someone else and fulfilling the purpose of the project.
We practice this value when we recognize that all of us are imperfect, which means there will be mistakes. But it also means when there are problems and mistakes, we are going to address them in order to serve others better.
All of these values build up to the final core value:
Value 6: Persistent Growth
We are all growing. This value reminds us that we continuously learn from our mistakes. It creates a safe place, but one where you will be challenged as well. It means we are getting stronger, better, and headed somewhere together.
To live this out, we hold ArtSpeak University every week. During this time, a team member shares an area of their expertise with the rest of the team. In this way, we all learn. This also empowers innovation. It provides an opportunity for everyone on our team to become more.
Team Building: Here’s what works for us. What’s working for you?
Tl;dr: Core values are the key to a thriving, contagious work culture, and ArtSpeak has 6 core values that help our team thrive and may help your team create a contagious culture as well. Those values are: this is about people; gratitude is our operating system; empathetic honesty; confident humility; imperfect excellence; and persistent growth.
Your people are your secret sauce. And core values are the ingredients that help your church and team thrive. When your team fully understands and models your core values, you have created something beautiful, something that will outlast you.
These six core values are what work for us, but we would love to know what works for your team! In a comment, DM, or email, share one of your values and how you include that value in the culture of your team. We can’t wait to hear from you!