How to Create a Winning Leadership Culture

You can Create a Winning Culture either by Default or Design

Leaders set the bar and guard the bar.  Everything rises or falls on leaders.  Walt Disney once said that the leader can create a culture by DESIGN or DEFAULT.  Design is intentional and has to be constantly fought for (i.e. the culture of Disney World attracts people).  If your culture is not being taught, modeled and reinforced by leadership, your culture will evolve by default (i.e. “We’ve always done it that way”).

I lead a church plant, which means our organization completely started from scratch (we inherited no money, no people, and no place to meet).  Unlike a franchise or church campus, our labor of love was built from the ground up and so we have the freedom to create our church’s culture.

For what it’s worth, here are the 8 Cultural Values our Staff Team champions at Life Church Michigan:

  1. HUSTLE: Don’t settle for average! Hell is hot and Forever is a long time.  Get a FIRE in your belly and make it happen!!
  2. DO IT RIGHT / DO IT BIG: God deserves our BEST and the World is watching!
  3. MAKE IT BETTER: It doesn’t have to be PERFECT, it just has to be AMAZING.
  4. SHOOT STRAIGHT: Don’t spin; always tell the truth and do the right thing, even when it hurts. Think Integrity!
  5. HUMOR OVER HAMMER: Laughter beats guilt trips every time.
  6. USE YOUR BLINKER: Let everyone know what’s up; no surprises. Make yourself accused of OVER-communicating!
  7. BELIEVE THE BEST: Cynics always assume the worst. That’s not us. Loyalty is our default. Assume you don’t have all the information.
  8. WE’RE ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS: Metrics don’t have emotions and metrics don’t lie.  Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God!

Jonathan is the founding pastor of Life Church Michigan.

You can get his new book at

He once bought pantyhose with Tina Fey (true story).