Welcome to second installment in our continuing new series, “Eight Ways to Build a Flourishing Workplace Culture.”
This week, Jim Tomberlin is one of the three highly-respected Christian leaders to highlight The FLOURISH Model—the cornerstone of BCWI’s global consulting work with more than 1,000 Christian organizations in the U.S., Canada, and around the world.
What lessons can a highly-respected consultant who helps churches develop and implement customized multisite, merger and multiplication strategies teach leaders about the importance of creating a healthy culture?
The answer: A lot!
In fact, what follows below, might inspire and equip you to see how The FLOURISH Model can help transform your workplace culture through increased trust, healthier communication and the new-found unity needed to advance and fulfill your organization’s mission.
Jim’s multisite journey started in the mid-1990s when he was the senior pastor at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. He then served Willow Creek Community Church in 2000 and led the development and launched its multisite strategy that ultimately grew to involve 25,000 weekend attenders across eight campuses Jim says. “While serving there I kept getting calls to talk to the “multisite guy.” Today, Jim is CEO of MultiSite Solutions. Jim and his wife attend Woodmen Valley Chapel at one of five multisite campuses that meets in a school near the Tomberlin’s home in Colorado Springs.
Currently, Jim is now serving as interim Senior Executive Pastor at Christ Fellowship Miami. In our one-to-one conversation, Jim shared with me how The FLOURISH Model helped him, and his team pinpoint the things that needed attention to revive their workplace culture.
“Christ Fellowship Miami brought me in to help them improve their multisite strategy. In the midst of their recalibration, Senior Pastor Rick Blackwood was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer. He asked if I would take the vacant role of Senior Executive Pastor, and I told him I would do it part-time for six months while I continued to lead my company and consult other churches. Today, a year later, I recently signed up for another year. Btw, Rick is cancer-free and fully engaged again.
Recently, Jim and the MultiSite Solutions team led Christ Fellowship Miami through BCWI’s staff engagement survey process. This gave senior leadership a new-found awareness that their workplace culture needed to take full advantage of The FLOURISH Model.
I was struck (yet not totally surprised) at why Jim believes staff culture is important to look at if a church hopes to grow.
“Effective churches have clarity around their mission, vision and strategy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy churches. Senior pastors can be great visionaries and communicators but totally clueless to the health of their team which is the key to their ultimate success.
- “Smart and secure leaders are willing to take a good look in the mirror to see what needs to be addressed and how we can get better. After all, facts are our friends.
- “Speed of the leader and speed of the team all contribute to a healthy staff and thus a healthy church.”
The Action Steps
I was curious about Jim’s initial reaction to The FLOURISH Model that outlines the eight drivers for staff engagement in churches. When I asked him about practical takeaway benefits, I noticed myself leaning into his responses.
“The FLOURISH Model was both affirming and enlightening. It was like going to the doctor and hearing good news and bad news. The heath of the workplace culture at Christ Fellowship of Miami wasn’t dying, but we were at a critical moment.
“The FLOURISH Model provided our leadership team with objective and quantitative strengths to leverage and weaknesses to work on, namely:
- Identifying our top strengths helped us to leverage them with laser-focus. “Life Giving Work” and “Fantastic Teams” were our top two drivers for staff engagement. Both drivers confirmed our staff believes in our mission, loves working together in a diverse and family-centric environment.
- Our executive team’s willingness to be transparent about our weaknesses with the entire staff was highly valued more than we realized. Fully communicating our survey summary and highlights reinforced the staff’s greater appreciation that we are on a journey together to an even healthier culture. It was the probably the best thing we did coming out of the survey.
“When we presented the survey’s executive report at the all-staff meeting, one of the recent hires stood up and said, “I have served in several churches and have never experienced the humility and transparency that I saw and heard today. Glad to be a part of this team!”
Take care of your team, and they will better serve your congregation and your community.”
Before/after stories are evidence of transformational change. Jim was quick to note how the workplace culture at Christ Fellowship can benefit through these three, high-priority action steps:
- Rewarding Compensation
“Though we were clear on our mission, vision and strategy, we had slipped below an acceptable compensation range for our staff. We knew it before the survey, but the survey reinforced our resolve to make it affordable to do life and ministry in Miami.
Outcome: “Our focus heading into 2019, we’ve reviewed salary surveys and addressed salary ranges with staff. We’ve also made improvements with competitive benefits. The “Demographic Snapshot Summary” has helped us identify other groups of staff members that need to be addressed early this new year.
- Healthy Communication
“Clearly, we learned we needed to work at better communicating information and getting feedback in different and more timely ways so that everyone understands the why of a decision and the expectations behind it.
Outcome: “In order to communicate more effectively, we will share information in different and more timely ways, explaining decisions and sharing expectations along the way, and asking for more feedback.
- Greater Collaboration
“The survey also highlighted our tendency to be top-down in our decision making. Therefore, we’ve implemented several steps to move us toward more collaboration by identifying “area champions,” utilizing focus groups, and creating think tanks.
Outcome: “Senior leadership is ultimately responsible for all the decisions of a church, but they don’t have to make all the decisions, or make them in a vacuum. None of us is as smart as all of us. Some of the best ideas come from every level of the organization. When people have a voice in the decision-making process, they have more ownership of the ultimate decision.
“Asking for staff input and allowing staff to contribute to planning and decision making develops stronger trust and leads to less over-management.”
Like a growing wave of Christian leaders, Jim Tomberlin realizes the readiness to survey employees and seek their insightful feedback is the logical starting place of a healthy, flourishing workplace culture.
“Every church leader has one of two responses to assessing staff culture. They are either afraid of it and resist doing it, or they are surprised by it, thinking it is better than it actually is. Every church leader I know that’s surveyed their people is glad they did it.”
Heathy organizations don’t just happen, they are intentional and cultivated over time. Take care of your team, and they will better serve your congregation and your community.”
Now It’s Your Turn!
Which of these the eight drivers that make up The FLOURISH Model is evident right now in your workplace culture? And which ones, in your mind, are presently lacking?
- Fantastic Teams
- Life-giving Work
- Outstanding Talent
- Uplifting Growth
- Rewarding Compensation
- Inspirational Leadership
- Sustainable Strategy
- Healthy Communication
Coming Up Next in on our Continuing Series
“The Eight Ways to Build a Flourishing Workplace,”
Mike Cole, Senior VP of Human Resources and Chief People Officer
on “How to Leverage the FLOURISH Model”
Download the 8 Drivers Reference Guide for FREE.
One or more of these eight measures of workplace culture
is either strengthening (or weakening) your organization right now.
Al would love to address your questions about creating a flourishing workplace culture. Send an email to AskAl@bcwinstitute.org
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