How to Move Your Organization Through 3 Phases of Cultural Refinement

Is your organization frustrating and lifeless or is it engaging and inspiring?

For many people, descriptors such as “dreary,” “discouraging,” “fear-based,” or “missed promises” describe their organization’s culture.

Leaders don’t want a dreary or frustrating organizational culture but most don’t know what to do about it. They’ve seen inspiring organizations but have never been taught how to create or maintain one.

How does a leader go about creating something that, on one hand, is so important, but, on the other hand, seems so amorphous?

Leaders can build a high performing, values aligned culture through an organizational constitution.

Your organizational constitution describes exactly how its members will engage with each other, outside stakeholders and guests, as members act to fulfill their team or department’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals.

An organizational constitution:

  • outlines your team’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals.
  • paints a vivid picture of success, values, and behaviors.
  • maps out how to work from that picture each day.
  • gives team member’s jobs and roles meaning and clarity.

S. Chris Edmonds, a senior consultant with the Blanchard Group, has a new book entitled The Culture Engine, which answers the question, “How do I fix it?” It provides leaders with a framework for crafting a high performance, values aligned organizational culture. That proven framework is creating, then managing to, an organizational constitution.

Edmonds develops three phases of culture refinement through an organizational constitution – the design phase, the align phase, and the refine phase.

Is an organizational culture right for your team? Evaluate your team’s performance, teamwork, and civility. If they’re not where you’d like them to be, change expectations by looking for more than just performance. Create a work environment built on trust, respect, and dignity for all team leaders and members, and you’ll enjoy greater employee engagement, higher customer service, and higher profits.

>> Download a brief summary of Edmond’s Three Phases here.


For over ten years, Auxano has been delivering to churches the process described above: the Vision Pathway.

The Vision Pathway is a one-of-a-kind process that provides a framework to deliver unique and comprehensive Vision Clarity for your organization.

We believe God is doing something cosmically significant and locally specific in your church. By engaging in a challenging process of praying, listening, and interacting with your team around certain key questions, it is possible to articulate the unique vision God has for your church and take practical steps to align your church to move toward that vision.

>> Learn more about our Vision Pathway Process.

>> Start a conversation with one of our Navigators.

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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What say you? Leave a comment!

Jon Pyle — 02/09/15 2:52 pm

As I began to jot notes down about my organization specifically, I think it can become a kind of guiding document that focuses sharply on the "how". It can be a tangible, accessible foundation for everyday organizational reality in different terms than the Vision Proper. Of course, it is a living document that will be saturated with your vision frame (mission, metrics, etc.) and other elements of the Vision Pathway too. Especially when I see a focus on things like values, the constitution can allow you to define them even further and connect them to the operations of the organization. Even your least "big picture" staff/volunteers can grasp and internalize the result of what I interpret Edmonds is going for. It feels very practical. All that to say, I'm not entirely sure! I just ordered the book, so I hope to read through it soon and get a better idea. Thank you for responding.

VRcurator — 02/09/15 2:29 pm

The phrase "organizational constitution" as used by the author, S. Chris Edmonds, captured my attention when I first came across it. The use of terms like values, strategies, goals, and above all clarity, were of great interest to the Auxano team. We are always on the lookout for work by other organizations that supports the Vision Pathway process. We are just diving into the process, but were intrigued enough to want to get it out to the Vision Room readers. I hope to post some follow-up in the days ahead. Jon, after you have had a chance to look at the download, what do you think?

Jon Pyle — 02/06/15 3:10 pm

How does the organizational constitution integrate with the Vision Pathway? Is it the part of zooming down for more detail once your vision is established?

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
comment_post_ID); ?> In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
comment_post_ID); ?> "While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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