Calvary Christian Academy’s Head of School Dr. Jason Rachels was recently interviewed by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute (BCWI) to discuss the heart behind CCA’s workplace culture and how it can encourage and inspire other professionals who have been called by God to lead organizations.
“I had been Head of School for three months when we completed our first survey. We had recently gone through a change in several of our lead administrative positions including head of school, secondary school principal, director of academics, and key discipleship staff. Our people needed time to get to know their new leaders and to begin to learn that they could trust them to lead them well.”
The BCWI Staff Engagement Survey
revealed that CCA was already strong in Inspirational Leadership, one of the eight factors of The Flourish Model that drives the health of a workplace culture when people:
- focus on their personal relationship with Christ
- demonstrate humility, and
- care for and empower others they serve.
Over the course of three successive annual surveys, CCA’s culture improved remarkably. A key reason why, as Jason explains, is that core values aren’t just “taught,” but rather “caught.”
“Dallas Willard once said, ‘The idea that you can trust Christ and not intend to obey him is an illusion. . .. In fact, you can no more trust Jesus and not intend to obey him than you could trust your doctor or your auto mechanic and not intend to follow their advice. If you do not intend to follow their advice, you simply do not trust them.’
“If you do not intend to follow their advice, you simply do not trust them."
“The same idea applies to our culture and our core values. You can be taught values, you can recite them, you can say you believe them and that you will live by them. But the proof of whether such values have been ‘caught’ and not just ‘taught’ shows up in what we do.”
CCA’s staff has experienced greater unity, which Jason believes mirrors Jesus’ desire in John 17 that his disciples know the unity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. “A healthy culture is a unified culture, and a culture that’s unified in its values, actions, and service to one another makes a big difference.”
“The survey helped us see that our staff had some real needs like more paid-time-off to care for their families. We added four additional sick days for our staff, who truly appreciated that we recognized that need and took action to take care of them in that way.
“Surveying annually has given us the opportunity to see what is staying consistent, and what is changing from year to year. We make changes based on the feedback we receive from the survey results, so doing the survey annually allows us to see how the actions we take impact our people and our culture.”
“Surveying annually has given us the opportunity to see what is staying consistent, and what is changing from year to year."
“Jesus talks about cleaning the inside of the cup. As this happens, the outside will then also be clean. Focusing on culture is like cleaning the inside of your organization instead of prioritizing what it looks like on the outside.
“As we develop a healthy and flourishing culture, it leads to success as a healthy and natural outflow of that health. And it makes for a much more enjoyable place for everyone to work.”
It’s Your Turn
What’s one real, culture issue you’d like to solve in the next six months?