Pushing Your Church’s Culture Forward in This Current Season with Jenni Catron

Thanks for tuning in for the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Jenni Catron, the founder and CEO of the 4Sight Group which helps both leaders and their teams be healthy and thriving.

With the disruptions that covid has brought, many church leaders are struggling with a sense of overload and fatigue. Shifts in how we work have created fractures in teams which have resulted in strains on relationships, communication, and trust. Listen in as Jenni talks about how to address these issues in ministry.

  • Relational connectivity. // Recent statistics show that 25% or more of employees are considering leaving their jobs. Many people are feeling disconnected from the significance of the work they’re doing because they aren’t in proximity to their leader, team, or the people they serve in the way they used to be. Interactions with teammates have become largely transactional as we do more virtually, and we’ve lost natural human interaction that happens when we’re face-to-face.
  • Focus on the why. // Organizational clarity has been difficult in this season because we don’t know what the next few months or years will look like. But rather than focusing on the what, we need to focus on the why. If leaders can go back to their why, they will re-inspire their teams. In this great reorganization people want to be a part of something that has meaning and purpose. We don’t have to give our teams a detailed roadmap to the how. Once they understand the why and reconnect to that, they will work together to discover the how.  
  • Organizational structure should serve our strategy. // Org charts can feel bureaucratic, however they provide clarity for every staff person at your church to understand how they contribute to this mission. One of the most critical things we can do as leaders is provide clarity for our team and help people see their place in the organization.
  • Work on your Org Chart in layers. // As you work on your ministry’s org chart, you’ll need to go back and forth between what and who. Look at what your organization needs to achieve its mission, and then what core functions are necessary to achieve it, whether they are operations, creative weekend experience, etc. Start at the top and figure out how many direct reports a leader can have. Define the roles and then look at who in the organization best fills those roles. Continue this process layer by layer.
  • Changing values. // Values serve us for a season and while sometimes that season can last for decades, other times that season may come to an end a lot sooner than we expected. In cases like this, take a look first at what doesn’t need to change and what still represents who your organization is. From there, find the values that no longer embody who you are and identify why those should change.
  • Four steps to writing values. // Jenni has given us access to the resource The Four Steps to Writing Values that are More Than Statements on a Wall. This document walks readers through how to evaluate your values. You’ll identify what is the belief, why it’s significant, what are the behaviors, and the language to then talk about them.
  • Culture Blind Spot Assessment. // If you want to troubleshoot the culture at your church, visit the 4Sight Group and take the Culture Blind Spot Assessment. 4Sight will then talk on the phone with you about the trouble spots that are identified and how they can help you.

Visit www.get4sight.com to take the assessment and learn more about all that 4Sight Group can do for you. Click here to download The Four Steps to Writing Values that are More Than Statements on a Wall.

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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Leadership Pathway

If you are trying to find, develop and keep young leaders on your team look no further than Leadership Pathway. They have worked with hundreds of churches, and have interviewed thousands of candidates over the past several years. They are offering a new ebook about five of the core competencies that are at the heart of the leadership development process with every church that they partner with…just go to leadershippathway.org/unseminary to pick up this free resource.

Episode Transcript

Rich Birch — Hey, friends, Rich here from the unSeminary podcast. So glad that you have decided to tune in. You know every week we bring you a leader that we hope will really inspire and equip you and today I know that is no exception. I’ve got my friend Jenni Catron—she’s the founder and CEO of an organization called The 4Sight Group—they provide coaching and consulting churches and consulting services to churches and other organizations. She’s a writer, speaker, leadership coach. She’s really an expert in this whole area of culture particularly. She’s worked at ah, a number of great churches and including Menlo ah, Menlo Church and Menlo Park and Cross Point Nashville. She is incredible. Jenni, welcome to the show. So glad you’re here.

Jenni Catron— Rich, this is fun. Thanks for having me.

Rich Birch — Now Jenni, if you’re a longtime listener, was our actually our second guest on the podcast and we are…

Jenni Catron — Is that right?

Rich Birch — That is true. It was Carey Nieuwhof was number one, and then Jenni Catron was number two. And we are approaching 600 episodes. And so I was thinking about that and I thought who do we need to help? Now you’ve come back I think… yeah fact, that might be the last time. I don’t I don’t know if you’ve done three – I should’ve looked before today.

Jenni Catron — I was going to say, I can’t remember but that’s crazy. It was episode number two. That’s super fun and…

Rich Birch — Episode 2

Jenni Catron — That’s awesome.

Rich Birch —A long time ago.

Jenni Catron — Yeah.

Rich Birch — It was a part of the pre- before we even launched recorded. You know you got to record a few before and so yeah, you were number 2. So the fact that you’ll still come on all these years later is…

Jenni Catron — Oh my gosh.

Rich Birch — …is to your credit.

Jenni Catron — No I’m thrilled – this is fun to be back. This is great.

Rich Birch — So glad that yeah, that’s will be fun. Why don’t we kind of talk through tell us about 4Sight. Kind of fill out the picture there – I gave a very kind of quick overview. Give us a sense of of 4Sight. Who do you help? What do you do? That sort of thing.

Jenni Catron — Yeah that’s awesome. Thank you. Yeah 4Sight was really birthed out of my passion for leaders to be healthy and thriving and for their teams to be healthy and thriving. And you know I had the privilege of serving in full time ministry, like you said, for about 12 years on church staff in the role of executive director, and executive pastor, and and then prior to that had been in the corporate world for about a decade. And what I just recognized over and over is that the the significance of the health of a leader and then the power of a great culture team dynamics that just enable us to achieve a mission. And that when those 2 things are happening – when a leader’s healthy and thriving and the team is healthy and thriving – you just I feel like you can conquer the world, right? Like whatever that mission is you are able to just achieve that with so much more meaningful success if you will. And so 4Sight was birthed out of that of like how can I help more leaders and teams just you know do what they they feel called to do and in a way that is life giving to them. So so that’s what we do. We do leadership coaching, so we have a team of coaches that do 1 on 1 leadership coaching, and then we also have our culture framework which is just a a framework that helps walk through, hey if you know whether your culture’s kind of mediocre or your culture’s really toxic right now, or it just needs a tuneup you know – because there’s no perfect culture – um, we come alongside, do workshops and ongoing consulting to help just give you those building blocks to build a healthy and thriving team.

Rich Birch — Love it. Well you know I know in like I said this earlier but I’m going to underline it whenever I think of culture issues at the top of the list is you, and and so friends you should be following Jenni and the 4Sight Group and reaching out to them for sure. They’re just fantastic people. But but part of what I’m doing here is taking advantage of our friendship. You talked to a lot of different leaders. You are connected in a lot of places, having a lot of different conversations, and so I wanted to kind of tap that kind of meta idea of like, hey what are you hearing? What are some of the things that either churches are coming to you, or you’re kind of as you’re engaged in conversation, you’re like oh I’m seeing a trend here. What are be a some of those maybe these are you know problems that our churches are running into leaders are coming into, maybe a pain that you you consistently see coming up – what what are you hearing these days?

Jenni Catron — Yeah, there you know there’s a couple different themes that are standing out to me. One of which is just there’s just such a sense of overload and fatigue – like that feels really prevalent. I think it’s you know the compounding effect of two years of just just disruption and constantly having to figure out, okay now how do we do it? Okay now how do we do it? Okay, how do we plan, you know?

Rich Birch — That’s so true. Yes.

Jenni Catron — You and I talked offline just before we started recording of just you know the practical reality of how challenging it is to even plan as far out as we might have historically. So there’s just like this it’s if I think it’s just catching up with us. Um, I think that’s compounded by the level of disconnection. Especially when we talk about teams and cultures when we’ve most… most organizations still have some level of hybrid work, you know. There there are some that have returned completely to the office but by and large there’s still a lot of like kind of you know hybrid work scenarios or still working from home. But what that’s done is it’s created just fractures in connection for teams. And so the relationships are strained. The trust is strained. Communication is strained. And so you’re just feeling like and I think that’s also like contributing to the fatigue factor.

Rich Birch — Sure.

Jenni Catron — So those are like really two of those big things that I’m seeing is just this kind of sense of overload because we’re just a bit exhausted.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — And then we’re also not connected the way that we historically would have been. and while that’s getting better in some places, that impact on the on the team dynamic, I think is is really starting to show. Is you know we’re starting to really see that more.

Rich Birch — Um, yeah, well and I think yeah that makes total sense. You know I wonder if a part of this has been pre- all of this – I don’t even know what we call this season anymore.

Jenni Catron — What do we call it anymore, right?

Rich Birch — Yeah, post-Covid – whatever. I don’t know whatever you call this. Um pre- that so many of us were used to leading where like we saw everyone that we were leading like every day. We were slapping them on the back…

Jenni Catron — That’s right.

Rich Birch — …there was you know it’s the old water cooler idea, and so there was ah there was both a relational thing that we could do there where we could kind of stay connected and we had high enough you know, kind of emotional EQ that we could figure out where people are at. But then even just communicating what’s important as an organization was all done face-to-face where then now it’s not definitely not all done face-to-face. And so you can see how that has really has really strained people over these years for sure.

Jenni Catron — Yeah, yeah.

Rich Birch — What what’s some of the outcomes you you see of that like on teams? Like what is that what impact is that having on um, you know the the kind of people who are working in churches or their you know the teams who are you know who are you know trying to make this thing happen?

Jenni Catron — Yeah, you know this is this is more of a Jenni theory than me being able to deliberately connect the dots…

Rich Birch — Sure.

Jenni Catron — …but you know part of what we you know are hearing is the the great resignation of people reevaluating and changing jobs. And I saw one more recent stat that said 25% of employees are considering leaving.

Rich Birch — Oh.

Jenni Catron — That was as I’ve seen that number as much as 40 or 60% depending on which what what research you’re looking at. But by and large everybody’s asking the question of why am I doing what I’m doing? and I do think that is a byproduct of people being disconnected from the significance and purpose of the work they’re doing, just because they’re not in proximity to their leader in the same way where they’re or they’re not in proximity to the who that whoever they serve. So if we’re talking to a lot of church leaders, you know, if you can’t… every leader has felt this right? Like our attendance is a fraction of what it was pre-covid and that’s really like just frustrating and we don’t see the same people. We wonder if some people are even around, and and while we want to be mindful of who is here and making sure we’re being thoughtful to connect with them. Again I think that is still just um, just been emotionally tiring for most of our teams. And then with one another because they haven’t had the same level of proximity in in the office. You know as much as we’ve gotten really good at video and Zoom and all of these things. Um unless you’re really purposeful about creating connection which just sometimes feels a little awkward. So what’s happened is so most so much of our work has become just transactional. We’ve lost, like you said, those water-cooler, pat-each-other-on-the-back, high-five you know, just chitchat and in it for a minute in the hallway and between meetings. And some of those like really human interaction things that happened naturally for teams were completely extracted when we had to go to all virtual.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — And unless we found some mechanisms to replace a little bit of it, and I think there’s some things you can do in a digital environment to replace some of that. But I think all of I I think it’s been hard for team members to name that that’s why I’m not energized about my work.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — You know again, for years we’ve been saying people don’t quit jobs they quit bosses…

Rich Birch — Yeah.

Jenni Catron — …or you know like we stay someplace because of the culture and our leader…

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah.

Jenni Catron — …and we’ve known that for forever. Well I think a good reason why people are are asking the question of you know, should I stay here? Do I want to move on to something different? Is because they’ve lost that relational connectivity that brought so much life to their work. And while we might be starting to bring some of that back, um, its you know now it’s we’re having to rebuild that those muscles and know how to do that again. So ah I think there’s there’s a lot in there so I should probably like pause and let you tease out what’s most helpful.

Rich Birch — No, no, no, that’s good. I love that because I think I know for me that’s kind of as it’s gone through these different phases it’s like, well if we let’s play like a better game on Zoom. Or like I’ll send pizza to everyone’s house.

Jenni Catron — Right.

Rich Birch — Or like we tried to we started with like these um, like how do we how do we kind of approximate or synthesize what it was like to be in person? But the thing I like that you’re pushing on is actually I think a much deeper issue which is it really gets it’s like the organizational clarity question, which is like why are people here? When I think of the people who are who are thriving in this season in the organization I lead, or you know churches that I run into, it’s people who have clarity on what is the big thing.

Jenni Catron — Yes, yep. Yeah.

Rich Birch — What is the thing that kind of transcends the you know all the kind of frills or whatever? So what what are some things you’re seeing on that front around either… because it does seem like if people are wondering, why am I here? I do feel like every organization is is asking that question now again, right? It’s like okay what is it what is the next five years supposed to be like now?

Jenni Catron — Yeah.

Rich Birch — Everything’s changed – the world’s different. Um, you know what are we building? You know we stop talking about rebuilding, but what are we building? So um…

Jenni Catron — Yes, yeah.

Rich Birch — What does that look like when you think about organizational clarity in this season?

Jenni Catron — Yeah, and I think ah, you’re you’re you’re hitting it ah dead on in that it’s actually really hard, right? So for the senior leaders in the room, you know that are at you know in that most senior leadership seat, it’s been really challenging to clarify where are we going. And and I think because of that frustration of I don’t know how to predict next month let alone 5 years from now. Um that then in some ways, and I and I’m named myself because I said that the the head of the organization that I lead and it’s in some ways we we we’ve been in such a reactive posture, and and we had to be initially, right? It was like whoa what is coming at us? How am I going to deal with this? And it was just kind of react…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — …and you know play a little whack-a-mole and try to just you know keep the wheels from falling off. And ah I think the challenge for us as leaders right now is to push ourselves back to a proactive posture, um get out of reactive mode, and go more okay wait, how am I going to engage now moving forward? But there’s a lot of work we have to do to get ourselves there because it’s really discouraging.

Rich Birch — It’s so true. Yes

Jenni Catron — It’s really frustrating to go, I don’t know what the next few months are going to look like. I don’t know how to predict that. All of my typical mechanisms for that aren’t working anymore. And and I’m grieving loss, right? I mean so a lot of the pastors that I’m working with are still you know, as much as we know it shouldn’t be about numbers and you know like we don’t need to fixate on the metrics, there’s the we are grieving that we used to reach a thousand people and now it’s five hundred a week. And we have this number of people who are connected online, but we don’t quite know how to like…

Rich Birch — Don’t know what that means. Yes.

Jenni Catron — …do what to do with that. Yeah, we don’t know exactly what that means. And um and you know so we’re still grieving just that loss and I think we have to really keep wrestling with that. So long way around to your to your question is I think we have to really go back to why. I think we got so focused on what – like what do I need to be doing, which is the strategy piece, but that real sense of purpose like why? Why do I do this? I remember, and I may have told you this, Rich, but I remember sitting at this very desk in April of 2020 going, Oh my goodness – what am I going to do? I’ve spent the last four years of this organization traveling ah all around…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — …to different churches and organizations, speaking, consulting, being on site with leaders, and what am I gonna do? and I was I was I was sitting here praying and I felt like God was like well why do you do?

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — To equip leaders to lead thriving teams. They and I just felt like I was like and they still need that.

Rich Birch — Yes, maybe more now than ever.

Jenni Catron — So now it was how, right? Yes exactly exactly. So it was like and I that was so grounding for me, Rich, because it was like wait. Why? Why do I do what I do? So for church leaders? Why? Why do we do what we do? Why do we do what we do? People need the hope of Jesus, right? Like arguably more than like in many of our lifetimes, like the the disruption, the frustration, the anger level, the uncertainty, the fear – like all of these things that have been plaguing our culture, our broader culture for these past couple of years – people desperately need hope. We know that anxiety is skyrocketing. We know that suicide rates are skyrocketing. You know, so again, particularly ministry leaders that why is arguably more critical than ever. So like if we can get ourselves re-inspired in that why…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — …of like wait, no this is why we do what we do. This is why this matters so significantly. Okay, now how? All right guys, I’m not sure how. And I literally I would do this as a leader if I were in the shoes of a lot of our listeners. It’s what I’ve done with my team. It’s like okay guys here’s why we do what we do. Now I am as confused as you are about how, so we’re going to have to figure out how together.

Rich Birch — Yes. Yes.

Jenni Catron — I’m not exactly sure how this is going to play out in the next one year, or three years, five years, but here’s what I know – this is why we do what we do and here’s a couple stories of seeing it in action. You know because the stories exist.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — You know I’m I’m hearing so many stories especially in ministry um, about people who are showing up for the first time because they’re hungry for hope.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — They’re hungry for somebody to bring some answer that will give them a sense of peace. We can provide that especially as ministry leaders, and then you know make the correlation to whatever you do if you’re in a nonprofit, or a business…

Rich Birch — Yes, right.

Jenni Catron — …like there’s a compelling why that you’re giving your life and energy to. And so I think if we can come back to that and our team can see our belief in it, they’ll come along for figuring out the how.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — I don’t think they’re desperate for us to be able to map out the exact plan. In fact, what we know about younger leaders is they want to be more collaborative.

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — They don’t want to just be dictated to…

Rich Birch — Just told, here.

Jenni Catron —They actually want to be more collaborative in in in doing the work together. So they just need to know that we’re anchored in a sense of purpose, and the data is telling us that too. There’s ah, a lot of research right now about, you know, in this great reorganization um what do people really want?They want to be a part of something that has meaning and purpose. You know and they want to give their lives to something that has significance.

Rich Birch — Yeah

Jenni Catron — So to me that’s a huge opportunity.

Rich Birch — Yeah, it’s fantastic. I love that. You know one of the things that kind of related to that as you know, there’s been a lot of churches out there that like say eighteen months ago there was a youth pastor who mildly knew something about technology and so then we said great, you now are the church online pastor. And that person’s been doing that for eighteen months. Um and now the church is you know that we’re doing that, we keep doing that, it’s fine. Um, but now we’re asking the reorganization question.

Jenni Catron — Right.

Rich Birch — We’re asking the like okay, how do we this is the kind of new normal. We have a sense of what we’ve done, what what our why is. We have a sense of where we’re going. If I’m a church leader today thinking about you know I just have this sense that we’re that I’ve got maybe all the right people on the bus, but they’re not necessarily sitting in the right seat. Um the real answer is call 4Sight. They’ll help you unplug it and figure it out. But but how would you go how would you walk through that process? How would you help them kind of begin to translate, okay, this is kind of our new reality. We take we have a clear idea of where we’re going, why we’re doing what we’re doing, and we have an idea of our kind of current context at least for the foreseeable future.

Jenni Catron — That’s right.

Rich Birch — Um, how do we look at moving people around? What’s that look like?

Jenni Catron — Oh that’s such a good question, and honestly this that has been a big hot button. Um I think there’s just a lot of people asking that question because we’re realizing there were some roles that we historically have that ah are not as critical. Um, and then there’s some roles that have become more elevated in our strategy. And and and like actually looking at that very deliberately, building out that organizational structure that really reflects it is so so so key. And here’s why. I just want to give a why on this because a lot of people especially a ministry if we hear “org chart” we’re like, argh!

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah, ahhh!

Jenni Catron — Org chart feels bureaucratic feels you know…

Rich Birch — Yeah, yeah.

Jenni Catron — …but here’s what a great Org Chart does is it provides clarity for every person to understand how they contribute to this mission. Like every person understands here’s how my role helps us achieve this mission. And ah clarity is one of the the biggest things we need to provide as leaders. It’s one of the most critical things we can do is provide the clarity for our teams. And so clarity of that purpose, which I just went on my long rant about, but then secondly like helping every person see their place in that.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — So that’s what an org chart does. So to your question, it is the okay, yup, what… One of my my big convictions is that our structure our organizational structure needs to serve our strategy. That’s the purpose first. So um and when I’m working on org chart stuff with teams I often talk about toggling the what and the who. Um and that there’s you’re…

Rich Birch — That’s good. I like that.

Jenni Catron — …you’re going back and forth between what and who as you’re looking at it because you need to go, okay, what does the organization need to achieve our mission? Okay. So we got a structure for strategy. So if I know that we’re going to need—these are the core functions that are going to that everything needs to flow from. You know? So if online… like there’s a church that I’m working with right now that online has been so significant for them that they realized we need to elevate that to more of a higher position organizationally. So so knowing you know, next to, and we’ll just do churches because I know a lot of the listeners are church leaders but you can make the application for whatever type of organization you’re in, you’re seeing your pastors in that most senior leadership seat. So then your next tier of the organization is really based on, what are the core functions necessary for us to achieve our mission? So it’s probably you know all your ministries, it’s your operations, and it’s your um creative weekend experience, whatever bucket that might be in, and that might vary for you. But you’re just getting clear about what are those core areas that are essential for us to achieve our mission. Um,

Jenni Catron — Then there’s a question mark of okay, what’s the appropriate span of care? You know how many direct reports does that leader can…

Rich Birch — Right. Need. Yeah, can take.

Jenni Catron — …can yeah need and can actively lead. You know can can really provide great leadership for. So ah, so maybe that’s 1, or 2, or 3, or whatever it might be – that’s going to clarify how many how many folks sit there. And then you go okay, now who? Now who can best fit these roles we’ve defined? And then you just keep doing that layer after layer of the org chart depending on how big your organization is. But it’s the what do we need? And then okay, who do we have? And we just keep toggling back and forth between those two things to help us build a structure that really serves our strategy, but also finds a clear place and position for the team members we have.

Rich Birch — I love that. That’s great coaching. Yeah I know I’m more of a systems leader and would lean much heavier on the like we’ve got to get the pristine org chart that’s like the ideal, if we had the most ideal people ever.

Jenni Catron — Right, right.

Rich Birch — Um, you know, this is how it would go. But I like that challenge of like oh we should be toggling between who do we who is actually here…

Jenni Catron — Yes.

Rich Birch — …and you know and and then who are you know and then how does that fit with where you know we need to be looking at both sides of that equation.

Jenni Catron — Both sides.

Rich Birch — That’s good I like that that’s good.

Jenni Catron — Yeah, well and what you and what you have a lot in—because you probably lean a little more of how I would as well that I—you know like what’s the ideal structure you know and then…

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah, let’s sort that out.

Jenni Catron — …but in ministry a lot of times we get so fixated on the who because we’re often more relationally wired. And um and then we just create these really odd roles because of what some people’s personal passions and interests are, but it’s not really actually helping us do the thing we’re called to do.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — And so as leaders we have this dual responsibility right to both steward the mission of the organization, and the people that are assembled here in their gifts and so forth. And so it’s really that back to tensions that we manage. You know we talk about that a lot. It’s like it’s really the both/and. And I push leaders to say start with what,

Rich Birch — Yes, yeah.

Jenni Catron — …because most leaders they will get hung up on the who.

Rich Birch — We’ll go to… yeah yeah, that makes sense.

Jenni Catron — Yeah. And so start with the what. Like if I were clean slate building a new org structure to help us achieve the mission in this season of of the organization’s life, what should that look like? Because a lot of times then what you find is you find some really unique ideas of like, oh wow I think this person, with a little bit of coaching and development could really do this thing. And I’d never thought about that. Or I’d never seen that potential in them. Right? Or this individual over here is a perfect fit. Or you know you just start to see different um, you get different ideas and different perspective that um can be really fun to uncover.

Rich Birch — Yeah, I love that. That’s so good. So another another kind of question around you know this whole kind of organizational-development-in-the-moment-we-find-ourselves is, I do sense that I end up engaged with with leaders that they’re either the senior leader or they’re a part of the senior leadership team, and something has shifted within them in the last couple of years, and they’ve changed. And they sense that the organization needs to change, kind of like at the values level like where it’s like you know we used to be X but I really think going forward, you know, the Lord’s calling us to or…

Jenni Catron — Yep.

Rich Birch — Um, or I think that we need to change strategically. It’s like this value this is like… or or the cultures changed around us and we need to respond to that.

Jenni Catron — Right.

Rich Birch — So it’s kind of like an aspirational values change. Is that a good idea? Bad idea? How does someone do that? Is that you know should values always be just defined on who we are today? How do how do you balance that out? What does that look like in the current season?

Jenni Catron — Oh I love that question. So it’s a really great question because I think you’re you’re hitting on probably some of the the tensions we feel as leaders of like the landscape is shifting. Now what do I do with that? Um, and so yes, and I think that um you know, values are one of those things that they serve us for a season. Now sometimes that season can be really extended. It can be really long. There can be organizations ah you know that have a set of values that really guide, you know how they work together and how they achieve mission together, and that works well for two decades. And then sometimes there will be something that that ah can almost creates a little bit of ah, almost a rebirth, or a just a pivot to a new season. And so sometimes that’s a new senior leader. Sometimes that’s a you know something like we’ve just experienced where it’s really shifted our our focus and our strategy.

Jenni Catron — And it’s time to take a re-look. So I think it’s completely, if you’re sensing that, I think that’s completely appropriate. And what I would do is I would say okay, what what doesn’t need to change? You know, maybe we have a set of 7 values, which is probably a little too many but most organizations have that much.

Rich Birch — Ah, yes, yes.

Jenni Catron — Um, so let’s say you have a set of 7…

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — …I would recommend more like 3 to 5, but um, but you look at it and you go okay, these two or three things, no, that’s still us.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — Like this conviction to serve others, or um to you know you fill it full that in with whatever it might be …

Rich Birch — Yep. Yep.

Jenni Catron — Those are still really core convictions. We still really believe these are critical. But you know what, here these other three those were important to us for a season, but they’re probably not the most critical things for now.

Rich Birch — Yep.

Jenni Catron — I’ll give you an example of this. One of the organizations that I was a part of we had to defined a set of values. They served us really well, well for about 10 years or so. New senior leader came in and you know had it, you know, just his own set of convictions and things that were important for the new era of leadership. And they they did; they pulled them out and they looked at them, and 6 of the 7 they kept, and he swapped out one. And there was one that was just really important to his leadership and what he believed was essential for the season…

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — …so he didn’t throw the whole thing out but they did a really helpful reflection on why did these things need to guide us? And that’s what’s important about values is they really become kind of those guardrails that help every team member understand, how do I work here? And how do I work with each other, with one another to to succeed, you know to be a healthy contributing part of this team? So I think I think the the taking a look at it, discerning which what needs to stay what needs to go, and then and then really digging into okay, why is this critical right now in this season, and then what does it look like? Right? So what’s why does this what’s the belief? Why does this value matter? And then behaviorally what does it look like in action?

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — Because if you can give that kind of clarity to it then, because back to your point about it’s kind of aspiration, right? We probably are not fully living into that.

Rich Birch — Yes.

Jenni Catron — But if I can give enough definition to it I can help my team understand, here’s what we’re aspiring to, and we’re gonna keep working to lean into and live into those values in a way that they do become true of us sooner than later.

Rich Birch — Yeah, that’s good because there can be a problem with those aspirational values where your team can get cynical about them, right?

Jenni Catron — Totally.

Rich Birch — Where it’s like oh yeah, we’re supposed to be whatever XYZ but like I never see that. And so you have to call I’ve found you have to call that out…

Jenni Catron — That’s ah exactly right.

Rich Birch — Like yeah this is we’re trying to lead into that direction. This is kind of like where we see um, and it may be a good season, or maybe I’ll ask it this way, is this a good season to reevaluate that? Is this a good season for us to be rethinking, I’m assuming values and um, even maybe some vision/mission stuff too?

Jenni Catron — Yes, I think so. Especially if you have question marks about it. If you’re like like you know this is clear. This is you know I I feel confident and comfortable and boom, we’re going, I would say invite a few voices around the table. I think part of the the blind spot we can have as leaders is that culture always feels clearest to us because we have the most control, right?

Rich Birch — Sure, sure.

Jenni Catron — And so we have to be conscientious of the fact that while it might feel clear to us it it probably is a little more murky to the rest of the team. So that could be mission or vision. It could be values. So I think I would pull some team members to go, if you have your own question marks, that’s a great place to open the conversation with some other team members to say hey, here’s what I’m wondering I’m wondering if we need to relook at this. And I am seeing a lot of organizations doing this right now of just like hey, this is a healthy time to kind of reset that baseline Um, we we use a tool in our culture framework called the culture hierarchy of needs. And it’s you know it’s similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of like those basic needs that we need to flourish as humans. But it’s it’s okay, what does that look like in an organizational context?

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — And one of the one of the core foundational blocks there is like just clarity – organizational clarity. What is our mission?

Rich Birch — Right.

Jenni Catron — What’s our vision? What are the values that guide how we behave? And so a a look at that to make sure that that that foundation is clear and strong, and everybody understands that then helps us build you know, build the the trust, and the connection, and so forth that allow people to really flourish at work.

Rich Birch — Love it. You’ve actually given us access to a resource called the 4 steps to writing values that are more than statements on a wall. That title is a little bit – it hits a little close to home there, Jenni. Because I think we’ve all worked in those organizations where it’s like we’ve got those values, do they actually impact us?

Jenni Catron — Yep.

Rich Birch — Ah, talk to us about this tool. Give us a sense of what you know what is this? Ah you know how how could a church leader who’s listening in how could it benefit them as they’re leading?

Jenni Catron — Yeah, and it does. It just helps you kind of look at the, okay, what are our values?

Rich Birch — Yep.

Jenni Catron — And if if they don’t exist. You know you’re going to get some you know, just some suggestions on how to even build them. But what are those values? And then—I kind of hinted at it a little earlier—what’s the belief? Why does that matter? Why is this significant for us? What are the behaviors? What does that look like? And then we talk about the sticky statements or the language that we use to talk about them. Because let’s be honest, we can have a value of collaborative communication and it’s like, that doesn’t get anybody super excited, right?

Rich Birch — Yes, yes.

Jenni Catron — But if we put a fun like statement or axiom around that that is kind of a little bit of like insider language, it’s kind of we all understand what it means, it gives them a little more life. Um and makes it a little more specific to your context so that that um that free download just kind of walks you through that process, and and helps you put a little more specificity and just a little more teeth into these values, so that they don’t become the thing everybody just kind of chuckles about, because they’re like yeah we say that we do blah blah blah.

Rich Birch — Sure. Yeah.

Jenni Catron —But really, we don’t. Um so it’ll get you kind of started in that direction.

Rich Birch — Love it. This is so good. I want to get a sense for our listeners how they could engage with 4Sight Group. So I’m a just pretend I’m an executive pastor of a church – I don’t know 1500 people, we’ve got 25 staff – and I sense that you know there’s man, there’s just some stuff on our culture that I think we need to address. How does 4Sight help with that? How how does your group help engage that issue?

Jenni Catron — Yeah, that’s fantastic, and thanks for thanks for that question. First of all, just at the top of our website is ah we call it a culture blind spot assessment. And it will it’s a quick little free assessment that you can take that just helps you identify, okay, what might be the trouble spot for us? And it assesses on 4 different areas of culture. And that usually kind of gets you pointed in the right direction. And then secondly from there it’s like hey let’s just get on the phone. Let’s talk about it because culture has its uniquenesses and nuances. So you know every organization might have a little bit something different that you need specific support for. And then beyond that oftentimes it’s either we do we get you in a one-on-one coaching relationship where then we’re just working with you directly as the leader on whatever we’ve identified as the trouble spot. Or we come and do a 2-day workshop with you, and we deep dive with you and a team of your staff to define, hey what’s the reality of our culture currently, what do we aspire to, and let’s build a plan to help you get there. And so that’s the the culture workshop program…

Rich Birch — Love it.

Jenni Catron — …that is a great place for folks to get connected. But that assessment will get you started. A conversation will help us figure out what’s the best way that we can help you just create that culture where you’re you’re thriving and your team is thriving.

Rich Birch — Yeah. Friends, you know Jenni’s not just a friend. She’s we’ve also had her in our organization. She’s helped us with some stuff and I can say you know, this can feel like one of those areas where it can feel maybe a little bit tender for you as a leader you’re like oh…

Jenni Catron — Yeah.

Rich Birch — …like to have somebody come in for a couple days and talk about an area that I feel a little bit ah, maybe not great about. Ah Jenni and her whole team are so good at getting in the corner of you and your team. Really this is not a like hey we’re gonna make you feel dumb…

Jenni Catron — No.

Rich Birch — …or like point out all your problems. It’s like let’s build to the future. Let’s figure out where we go from here. And I have found that the the free assessment is—everybody who’s listening should go take it—it is a great kind of starting point. It gives you some some great early ideas. So I would encourage you, friends, to go to get4sight—that’s with with a 4 not the FOR (I can’t even and spell). It’s with the number four – get4sight.com …

Jenni Catron — That’s right.

Rich Birch — …that would really be the the best place. Anything else you’d love to share ah, just while you’re you’re well we’ve got you today?

Jenni Catron — Well I would first of all, Rich, thank you so much for the opportunity to connect. I’m always super grateful and grateful for the work that you’re doing, and the way your equipment leaders are such practical resources and tools. That’s just such a gift. But to everybody that’s listening, thank you for your faithfulness in leading. I mean this has not been an easy season for any leader at any level. And so thank you for just your faithfulness in that. And um and I hope that you know you’ve been encouraged in some way, but if there’s any way we can, you know, be a resource or a support or a help um, we are always eager to be a part. So just thanks for your faithfulness and leadership. That’s what I’m super grateful for.

Rich Birch — Nice. Again is there anywhere besides get4sight.com we want to send people online? I do want people to listen to your podcast. People sometimes ask me as a podcaster what podcast do I listen to, and your podcast is one of my must-listens-to…

Jenni Catron — Thank you.

Rich Birch — …so um, you need to listen to that as well. Where where finer podcasts are aggregated. You can pick that up. Are there is there anywhere else we want to send people online?

Jenni Catron — Ah, no I think get4sight.com. It’s the word, g-e-t, the number 4, and the word sight s-i-g-h-t. And that’s a great place. I’m @jenncatron on all social media. So I love to connect with folks there. That’s ah, just a great way to stay connected with me personally. But yeah, we’d love to we’d love to connect and yes, the the podcast is Lead Culture with Jenni Catron and so clearly talking all things leadership and culture.

Rich Birch — Yes, good stuff. Thanks so much, Jenni. Appreciate you being here. And maybe we’ll have you on in another 600 episodes, you know.

Jenni Catron — I love it! Let’s do it!

Rich Birch — Yeah, thanks so much.

Jenni Catron — Perfect. Thanks, Rich.

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.