Dear Christian Radio ... Stop Being So Nice
July 3, 2015
by Brian Sanders, EVP, Positive Alternative Radio
Being nice is killing our ability to achieve the mission and vision.
Before you shoot off an email and try to have me removed from this blog, allow me to explain.
At some point, it became "unchristian" to have honest, candid conversations with team members about their attitudes, passion level and tasks not being done.
Under the guise of being Jesus-like, we tolerate incompetence. Perhaps out of fear of upsetting someone, we avoid addressing how a certain team member demeans everyone else in the building. It would be so unchristian to have any conflict or tension.
An organization's ability to deal with issues with candor and honesty will define how high it will rise or how toxic it is.
For the last three years, Positive Alternative Radio has worked very hard at making candor a defining trademark. To be honest, it's a daily battle. Some days we excel at dealing with the issues and having honest conversations. Other days, we sweep them under the rug in the attempt to just have a peaceful day. But I must say, we're making significant progress.
Candor doesn't mean being a jerk or attacking someone's character. It means being honest; dealing with the attitudes and issues. That doesn't mean it's easy.
PAR just published our first culture book. It's a pocket-size field guide that highlights the mission, vision and ways of being. I want to borrow a line from our culture book to illustrate that practicing candor isn't easy. It reads, "Understand that our passion makes us vulnerable to hurt feelings; candor is important to progress but taking things too personally is not."
Is progress worth the risk of some hurt feelings? Is pursuing the mission and vision with all out passion worth it? Yes.
If you're the leader of an organization and you're able to give a rousing speech and inspire the troops to build an amazing culture, but you're unwilling to "police the culture" - then get out the way and let someone else lead.
The inability to police the culture negates any speech you will ever give. The moment you begin to have honest conversations and moving the team down the field, that will be more powerful than any speech. Why? Our teams are tired of words. They want action.
Has using candor helped PAR? Here's a quote from one of our team members, "I'm committed to use candor and frank discussions. We're all human and candor helps us decide what can be done to make things better!"
Candor has helped us tremendously. We're able to easily identify issues and solve them. We're not perfect. We never will be. But we're committed to the process of constant improvement.
In all candor, honest conversations are a big reason why PAR has 15% growth over the first six months of 2014.
I know it will come so let's address it here and now. Practicing candor sounds so...unchristian.
Be honest but not hurtful.
Attack the problem, not the person.
Jesus practiced both truth and grace.
If you have doubts, contact any PAR team member. Ask them if candor is a part of our culture. Call one of our stations and ask. They'll be honest with you.
The team at PAR is committed to achieving our mission and vision. We know it will only be attained if we're honest about the hurdles we face. We can't get all the solutions on the table if we're not practicing candor.
When is the last time your team had a candid conversation about the issues and personalities it is facing?
Dear Christian Radio...
Begin the conversation of how to introduce candor into your workplace.
As the leader, be committed to decision making and not just speeches.
Practice both truth and grace. You'll see unbelievable growth in listenership, income and the skill-set of your team.