Healthy Leaders


How Jesus Built a Thriving Culture

Ken GosnellKen Gosnell

Creating a thriving company culture is essential for developing a great business. However, most CEOs and business owners focus very little time on developing and designing their corporate culture. In contrast, Jesus, the most exceptional leader of all time, spent a significant amount of time developing His culture. The culture would outlive Him and be the foundation for the organization to grow 3,000 percent in the months after His death. This fact should make us ask the question, what would Jesus teach us about corporate culture?

1. Jesus modeled what He wanted to be practiced. He also set the example for everyone after Him to follow. In fact, the first words to His disciples were, “Come, follow Me.” The leader of the organization is always the first to set the culture for the organization.

Key question: What would your culture look like if it looked exactly like you?

2. Jesus reminded others of values through storytelling. Stories shape who we are as an organization. They teach us about what decisions we should be making and where we should focus our time and our attention. Jesus was a master storyteller. He crafted stories to make essential points that His followers would always remember. 

Key question: What stories are you telling and retelling in your organization?

3. Jesus revealed values through mentor moments. The disciples spent three years with Jesus, and He packed those days with one experience after another. The disciples would remember how scared they were in the middle of the lake during a violent storm that Jesus would calm with a word. They would never forget seeing Peter walk on water. They would retell for generations the story of seeing the empty tomb and placing their fingers in the holes in His hands. Good leaders know that culture is developed when people not only hear about the values of the organization but experience it firsthand. 

Key question: What experiences are you giving your team?

4. Jesus refocused the disciples through a challenge. Jesus challenged His followers to leave everything to follow Him. He asked them to sacrifice for the greater good. Here is a fact: Great cultures have discovered the greater good that is worth a sacrifice.  

Key question: Have you created a more important call so that people understand the value of their sacrifice?

5. Jesus recognized the value of every person. Jesus pulled 12 different followers from different backgrounds with different gifts.  In spite of their differences, He called them to work together in unity. He taught them about humility and service. He washed their feet as an example of the thoughtfulness that they should show to each other. Great cultures serve each other and see themselves not as individuals but rather as a team. 

Key question: Do you reward community over individuality?

6. Jesus recalled people to purpose. In Jesus’ last interaction with His disciple Peter, He gave him this command; “Feed My sheep.” Peter had fallen and needed to be restored. Jesus not only restored him but also gave him a more prominent vision of what he needed to be doing for the rest of his life. Jesus was asking Peter to be committed to the cause of discipleship.  Great cultures are built on a commitment of the team. Great leaders ask for an exceptional commitment to a greater cause.  

Key question: What commitment are you asking of your people? Follow these six core principles from the life and teachings of Jesus, and you will build a great culture in your organization. You may not change the world, but you will change your company.

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Ken Gosnell