Suppose you’re the head of a church with 14 campuses, and the comprehensive report in your hands has revealed the health of your culture is at critical moment level? This was the moment Josh Surratt, lead pastor at Seacoast Church, in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, will always remember. What happened next is something that everyone familiar with the story will never forget: nothing less than a culture transformation, highlighted by 10 pearls that can enrich any culture, including yours.
Admittedly, Josh didn’t want to measure the health of Seacoast’s staff culture of 200 employees. Smiling, he told me, “I was afraid what I’d find out.” His wife, Lisa, Director of Culture at Seacoast, was open to the challenge of completing, reviewing and acting upon the findings of the BCWI’s Employee Survey. Together, they led the staff forward, and never looked back.
What Seacoast learned about their hurting culture–through a vibrant three-year turnaround–is captured here in these ten insights. Each comes with a question designed to help you consider and seek God’s best for your culture.
The Ten Pearls
- “While my natural temptation is to talk out a solution, first be willing to listen to your people tell you what you think.” — Josh
Recently, what have people been saying about your culture?
- “The good part for us is that intangibles like trust and spiritual leadership were present in our culture.” – Josh
What are some life-giving qualities of your culture that would be important for you and your team to confirm?
- “After our first survey, I was shocked to learn that most of our team didn’t know our mission statement.” – Josh
How does this compare with your people?
- “To improve the health of our culture, we had to be willing to accept the hard things and be transparent and honest with our leaders who were leading other staff.” – Lisa
What does transparency and honesty with staff look like to you?
- “To turn our culture around, we focused on four ‘culture builders’ of improving communication, goals and accountability, work environment, and employee development.” – Lisa
Do you know for sure the pain points of your present culture?“
Culture is the unspoken thread that runs through every part of an organization.”—Lisa Surratt
- “Two years after the first survey, our culture was healthy, and a turning point happened when we took our ‘culture builders’ on the road and worked with leaders on all 14 campuses.” — Lisa
Which of your colleagues is best equipped to train others and replicate your culture transformation?
- “If I had one encouragement for leaders it would be to take your Sabbath seriously. It’s easy to violate your day off; it’s much harder to violate the Sabbath.” — Josh
How does this resonate inside with you?
“My one encouragement is to pace yourself. For Josh and I pace ourselves three ways: Dialogue Daily (about our marriage, family, goals and God); Date Weekly (no exceptions!), and Depart Quarterly and get away to rest, refresh, and renew.” – Lisa
Which of these invitations speaks the loudest to you, and why?
- “Having an objective third party (BCWI) allowed us to put together a practical game plan to improve the health of our culture. That didn’t just improve the score of a yearly survey but improved the culture where we work. You can feel it when you walk through the front door.” – Josh
What do you most desire for your staff, your people, your culture?
- “Growing a church or an organization—similar to growing the health of your culture–happens from the inside out.” –Josh
What’s improving (or not) on the inside of your people, today
By living out the practical wisdom above, Josh and Lisa have helped lead Seacoast Church from a culture that was at critical moment level three years ago to healthy level today. Their humility, transparency, combined with their faithfulness to live out God’s call to ministry, easily causes me to say, ‘This is how you listen, learn, lead, and work to improve your culture.’
It’s Your Turn!
When it comes to your culture, what is the single greatest concern you want to confirm, address and resolve? What is your second greatest concern?
“The Three Priorities in Business”
Brad Eisenmann, President and CEO, Aspen Group
The Employee Engagement Survey
Click here to learn more!