Identifying Four Characteristics that Help You Lead Your Culture

A church without values is like a river without banks-just a large puddle. It is missing an opportunity for white-water movement. As with any organization, your church has a set of shared motives, or values, underneath the surface of everyday activity. The problem is that they stay weak because they are unidentified and unharnessed in guiding the future.

The role of the leader is to identify the most important values and pull them above the waterline of people’s perception. Once they are in clear view, the leader can nurture their development, enabling the church to do more of what it does best.

Once your people know and own the values, it’s like creating the banks of a river to channel energy and momentum. Think of values not as what we do but rather as what characterizes everything we do.

Is it time to shape a culture change?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – From Values to Action by Harry Jansen Kraemer, Jr.

In this highly anticipated book, Harry Kraemer argues that today’s business environment demands values-based leaders who, in “doing the right thing,” deliver outstanding and lasting results. The journey to becoming a values-based leader starts with self-reflection. He asks, “If you are not self-reflective, how can you know yourself? If you do not know yourself, how can you lead yourself? If you cannot lead yourself, how can you lead others?”

Kraemer identifies self-reflection as the first of four principles that guide leaders to make choices that honor their values and candidly recounts how these principles helped him navigate some of the toughest challenges he faced in his career.

Lively and engaging, Kraemer’s book comes at a critical time when true leadership in every facet of society is desperately needed.


The values of leaders of teams, departments, or organizations have an enormous impact on their respective groups. Your ability to influence people, whether leading a team of four, a department of 40, or a church of 4,000, depends significantly on their ability to appreciate your values.

Your values as a leader should be so clearly understood that even without you in the room, your team would be able to explain what you stand for in consistent terms.

The journey to becoming a values-based leader consists of four principles that guide leaders to make choices that are aligned with their values.

Applying the four principles of value-based organizations in a systematic way to help you build a values-based organization. With an appreciation for the four principles, you are committed to letting what you stand for shine in all your actions and interactions. In other words, you are a value-based leader.

Values are not bullet points on a corporate website or motivational phases on a poster in a lunchroom. Values define what you stand for and must be lived 24/7. Without values, an organization lacks cohesion and purpose.

When a boss does not have any discernible values, his team cannot relate meaningfully to him. Their relationship with him is based solely on the fact that he’s the one in charge.

However, a boss is who is a values-based leader and follows the four principles acts in a completely different manner. Self-reflection increases his self-awareness. Balance encourages him to seek out different perspectives from all team members and to change his mind when appropriate in order to make the best possible decisions. With true self-confidence, he does not have to be right, and he easily shares credit with his team. Genuine humility allows him to connect with everyone because no one is more important than anyone else.

Self-Reflection – The ability to reflect and identify what you stand for, what your values are, and what matters most.

Balance and Perspective – The ability to see situations from multiple perspectives, including differing viewpoints, to gain a holistic understanding.

True Self-Confidence – More than a mastery of skills, true self-confidence enables you to accept yourself as you are, recognizing your strengths and your weaknesses, and focusing on continuous improvement.

Genuine Humility – The ability never to forget who you are, to appreciate the value of each person in the organization, and to treat everyone respectfully.

Working for a values-based leader motivates the team members not only to do their jobs but also to take ownership of their tasks and responsibilities. Knowing that the boss wants their feedback, they speak up, and not just when he asks for input. They are proud to be a part of the team, knowing that no matter what the circumstance or situation, their boss is committed to doing the right thing – and so are they.

Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr., From Values to Action


As you clarify your deeply held values, they can only become tools for shaping culture to the extent that they are captured and carried throughout your organization.

As a values-based leader, you set the tone, whether within a small team or for the entire organization. Knowing who you are and what you stand for enables you to set a good example for others, so that you can create a team rooted in values.

Schedule several hours away from your normal routine in a place that will allow you time for reflection.

Author Harry Kraemer suggests the following questions for reflection. Using these questions as a guide, work through each of the four characteristics to see how you are developing as a values-based leader:

  • What did I say I was going to do today, and what did I actually do?
  • If what I did was different than what I planned, what were the reasons?
  • What went well, and what did not?
  • How did I treat people?
  • Am I proud of the way I lived this day?
  • What did I learn today that will have an impact on how I live the next day, the next week, and going forward?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 89-3, released April 2018.


Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader

Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.

>>Purchase SUMS Remix here<<



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