What 2017 Taught Me About Leadership and Culture

Culture is a weird word. Merriam-Webster defines it as the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization. It’s the leaders that drive the culture.

A lot of the year was spent learning about culture. It’s tying in what I learned from the Arbinger Institute, Seth Godin’s blog, John Maxwell, Pastor Jaime, and boundariesbooks.com.


To make change, you have to start making culture. Organize a tightly-knit group and get people in sync with buy-in. Buy-in get’s a few things, first being commitment since they have skin in the game. It’s also leading with mindset, you change the mindset and the behavior follows. Jaime calls it teaching the why and the how coming naturally.

How do you get buy-in? Ask people to things, don’t tell. “Will you” gets buy-in.

Creating Culture

Leaders are responsible for the vision and leading the way to it. If you’re in charge, you either make it happen or let it happen, whether it’s positive or negative. It ties into what Jaime and Arbinger’s book said about taking responsibility for the mistakes of those under me.

I either didn’t teach them well enough or allowed it to happen. Even walking by a mistake sets a lower standard. It creates a bad culture. When they do mess up, it’s a teaching moment, and allows for mistakes. They will occur.

Every new person that comes to the group has to be given every possible chance to be the best they can be. The closer you are to someone, the more influence you’ll both have with each other. You also can’t make everyone happy all the time.

Creating New Leaders

First, you create who you are, so make sure you’re setting a good standard. Work taught me this year to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Jaime taught me to always do right.

The thing with being a leader is you can never take a break from the role. Someone is always watching, especially if you claim to be a Christian. You have to learn it, live it, and pass it on.

How to find a candidate for leadership? I wasn’t looking for it, yet I was elevated. Why? Jaime used God’s pattern: a person has to be faithful in service with small things before they can be trusted with more. The greater areas to serve in and opportunities to lead come then, along with empowerment and accountability. You have to be able to count on someone to be there and to do it.

Like I said, leaders don’t get days off. The more responsibility you have, the fewer rights you have. I can’t skip church because I don’t feel like going when I have teach or clean. I do that, those I influence will think it’s fine. A standard must be set.

Find these people in your group.

This is the condensed version of what 2017 taught me about leadership, along with the other leadership posts this month.


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