The Critical Importance of Vision Alignment in Your Church

Does culture trump strategy?

Annette Franz, a Customer Experience executive, recently weighed in on the discussion with an interesting answer. Read on…

First, what is culture? I think Herb Kelleher, a man who knows a thing or two about culture, defines it best: “Culture is what people do when no one is looking.” Culture is the set of values and norms that guides how the business operates.

And, what is strategy? Basically, it’s a plan or direction. It outlines how you are going to achieve the goals of the business. From BusinessDictionary.com: “The overall scope and direction of a corporation and the way in which its various business operations work together to achieve particular goals.”

I tend to view strategy and culture as two sides of the same coin. I think they need to go hand in hand; why should they compete?

Does one trump the other? No. Why? Because I think vision and purpose are more important and are the ones that do the trumping!

What is vision? According to BusinessDictionary.com: “An aspirational description of what an organization would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future. It is intended to serves as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.” I would add that it is not only aspirational but also inspirational.

What is purpose? It’s your Why. It’s the reason for being, the reason for doing.

Vision is where. Purpose is the why. Strategy is the how. And culture is the who and what. They’re all important. Vision and strategy are set by the executives, but culture tends to be driven by the employees. Sure, executives need to support it, but this is where employees get to take over. Strategy is top-down, while culture tends to be bottom-up. Culture can’t be shoved down your throat, where I think strategy can be. For better or worse.

Vision without execution is hallucination. -Thomas Edison

But…

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else. -Yogi Berra

I think both purpose and vision trump culture and strategy. They are the north star. They guide you when you’re lost. They point you in the right direction when competing ideas are spreading you too thin. Strategy comes out of the vision and the purpose. Culture ultimately does, too, because you’re going to hire the right people and set the right stage to deliver on your vision and your purpose. And when you’ve hired the right people – those who are aligned with your vision and your purpose -to do that, then they’ll give their hearts and souls to make sure you succeed.

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. -Warren Bennis

Read more from Annette here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette Franz

Annette Franz

Annette Franz is founder and CEO (Chief Experience Officer, of course!) of CX Journey Inc. She's got 25 years of experience in both helping companies understand their customers and employees and identifying what drives retention, satisfaction, engagement, and the overall experience - so that, together, we can design a better experience for all constituents. Annette is active in the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), as: an Executive Officer on the Board of Directors, a CX Expert, and a CX Mentor. And she is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP). She is also an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for successful business and career coaches. Members are selected based on their depth and diversity of experience.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree with your 3 must-haves. I would add that the rectors have to call on every member who attends, at least once a year. The existence of a "calling commitee" is just an excuse to avoid making the effort. This is part of #3. If a rector does not like to call on parishioners, then she/he should not be a rector, but should find a different ministry. Carter Kerns, former senior warden, Diocese of Eastern Oregon and lifelong Episcopalian Tel# 541-379-3124
 
— Carter Kerns
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Are there any reliable statistics about the percentage of church plants that fail after 3 years in the US?
 
— Jon Moore
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I am a senior citizen who has lived in many areas of the US, the farthest south being Virginia DC area. There are several church plants in the area--some failed, some doing well. One of the sadist failures was a plant in NW Washington near a large Presbyterian Church (I had been an elder in the church, so I knew the area) where changes in church doctrine was driving many away from the PCUSA churches. There were many mature Christians who lived in the area who were very willing to participate and give generously to the church. Its failure was a loss. The pastor and his wife lived in a VA suburb, wanted something that would appeal to their tastes, which included "praise music". There was a professional piano teacher and several people who had sung in choirs in the area. Their suggestions were completely ignored. Forget that there was joyous participation in singing hymns and silence by many for the praise music. The experienced church leaders that were attending were expected to seek the wisdom of the pastor who did not live in the area rather than have any role in leadership. There is another church plant in Northern Virginia that seems to be going the same way. My take: the pastors should get past their high-school and college days culture and get to know and appreciate the people of the community. Do not try to reproduce Intervarsity or Campus Crusade. Hymns are not a sin and "uneducated" (never graduated from college) should not be ignored as uninformed or stupid. People who have served in and/or live in the area are needed in leadership and not just to serve coffee and give. We all need to pray together and serve God in the community in which there is to be a plant. Glenna Hendricks
 
— Glenna Hendricks
 

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