“We are culturally pioneers. We like to disrupt even our own business. Other companies have different cultures and sometimes don’t like to do that. Our job is to bring those industries along.”
Cultural pioneers? It’s a buzz phrase for sure, but Amazon is just that — the products, services, and culture of their company are radically pioneering and disrupting the mainstream in industries from book publishing to video-on-demand to web storage and backup.
Three thoughts come to mind when I hear the phrase “culturally pioneers”:
- What culture are you spreading?
- Are you pioneering?
- Are you counter-cultural?
What Culture Are You Spreading?
Every company, organization, and church is disseminating and replicating some type of culture. Whether you like it or not, you are influencing others —your friends, congregants, staff, clients, vendors, volunteers. All of them are picking up what you’re putting down.
Are you intentional about what you are sharing? Do you value people or things? Do you value process and discovery? Everything you do is a reflection of your values or culture.Think through the life of your organization. Are there habits that have developed that are emitting the wrong culture?
Are You Pioneering?
The Church has had its moments of pioneering culture, but that seems to have waned. Are you leading culture or following? Amazon decided to rethink how devices connect and process content. They redefined how we read and interact with books. Where could your organization be pioneers? LifeChurch.tv is a good example of a modern-day pioneer. They went all-in with app development and not only revolutionized what apps could do, but they disrupted the way we interact with the Bible. For 2012, pick an area where your organization can disrupt. Set goals. Become a pioneer.
Are You Counter-Cultural?
For believers of Jesus, pioneering means being counter-cultural, leading in a way that turns conventional thinking upside down. Are you living the counter cultural teachings of Jesus? It’s easy to pick a segment if culture to pioneer: music, new media, software, art. It’s 100 times more difficult to be that authentic, to truly stand out. For example, what about an organization that says, “We aren’t going to be OK with orphans in our city, so we’re going to find homes for each one”? Are you one of those organizations? One thing that Jeff Bezos doesn’t realize is that no matter how many devices or markets he can upend with the Internet revolution, it won’t even come close to the disrupting power of the Kingdom of Heaven as thought by Jesus Christ.
Mark Miller is the Marketing Director at Clark, a firm that specializes in Strategy, Facility and Technology Solutions for churches. He loves Dr. Pepper, his wife Sarah and their 106-pound Labrador Chester, but not in that order.