“What are the things that only you can do? Train other people to do everything else. You do what only you can do.”
If you’re like me, you’ve heard that over and over again. All the leadership blogs and books say it. But what in the world does it really mean? Run meetings? Preach sermons? Hire staff? I’m pretty sure I could train someone to do all of those things. What in the world can I do that no one else can do?
Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast
It took me a bit to learn that this is not merely in regard to skills, gifts, and job descriptions. This is in regard to roles and culture building. I once heard someone say, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” And I believe it. If that’s true, then culture is very important to any organization. One of the primary jobs of the leader is to build a strong culture that creates fertile soil for the mission and vision to be successful.
For example, when a staff member is consistently late, who will decide that isn’t acceptable? Who will decide that we should talk to one another when we have conflict rather than talking about one another? Who will decide when we will throw our heads back and laugh? How much sarcasm is acceptable on a team? Are we a team or a collection of individuals? Who decides?
The Leader Decides
The truth is, you can train people to preach sermons, run meetings, hire and fire staff, create budgets, etc. But it’s the role of the leader to build a healthy culture that sets the team up to be successful. You can stay in the nicest hotel or eat at the finest restaurant, but if the air conditioner is broken, you will be miserable. Culture is the temperature in the room that gives opportunity for strategies and tactics to be successful. And you, the leader, are the thermostat. You can delegate many things, but you must not delegate the building of healthy culture.