August 1, 2022
Do you feel like your organization is stuck? Do you feel stagnant or that there is a lack of passion in your team? Well, there could be many factors that are contributing to this—lack of vision, team cohesiveness, organizational problems, etc. But today, I'd like for you to consider your physical environment.
The physical world plays an important role in what we are feeling. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits says that "Environment is the invisible hand that shapes behavior." Sadly, many leaders do not realize the connection our physical environment has to our moods, associations, and even self-talk.
Years ago when our church was young and we were in the North Campus building, we went through a time of slow growth. The excitement and fire that I had seen in our team was beginning to wane and die out. As I began to pray and evaluate things, I had what some might consider a silly thought, "The church lobby sure seems dark. We probably should add some more lighting out there." If I wanted to have a team and congregation that was alive, on fire, and excited, our environment should reflect that! So we added lights and people laughed. Ushers would tease me after service, "Boy Pastor what are you trying to do—blind everyone? Ha ha! I need sunglasses just to find the restrooms!" But you know what began to happen? We grew! In fact it was one of the fastest growth spurts our church ever had and it was all related to environment.
One of the most pivotal things you can do as a leader to ignite growth and break up the feeling of stagnation is to change your environment. There are plenty of changes that we can make to the areas we spend the most time in that can make a big difference. The Harvard Business Review said that 27% of the US workforce still haven’t returned to work since the pandemic and many are only working a few days a week in the office. So many of us have great freedom and opportunity to engineer an environment that will help us become our best selves. And even if you don't have freedom to change your environment at work, I encourage you to do it at home. Organize your sock drawer, clean out your basement, or take a corner of the kitchen and make it a workshop for your dreams.
Think about the person you want to become or the type of company you want to lead and orchestrate a physical space that represents and fosters those values. Pictures, statues, colors, inspirational sayings. YOUR WORKSPACE WILL AFFECT YOUR BEHAVIOR. In my office, I have pictures on the walls of my family. I have paintings hung that bring me great comfort. I have Post-it notes® up of positive affirmations, goals and dreams, and quotes of successful people that inspire me. Be intentional about creating a GREAT environment and watch GREAT things happen in that environment.
In Mark 5:39-40, We see Jesus has been called to help Jairus' daughter who has passed away. As Jesus arrives, the text tells us that some of the crowds were laughing at Jesus and had doubt and unbelief. Then comes my favorite part of the passage, it says Jesus "put them out." He changed the atmosphere, and raised the girl from the dead! Jesus understood the importance of environment!
Question for Growth: James Clear recommends that we create an environment that makes it more difficult to stick with our bad habits and easier to keep the good habits. What are some negative influences that you can eliminate from your environment?
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
God is for YOU!