Mike Sharrow, C12
Who doesn’t want to improve their leadership and take their organization to the next level?
That’s why I called Mike Sharrow, President and CEO of C12, the nation’s largest network of Christian CEOs, business owners, and executives.
It didn’t take long for Mike to give me five key indicators of how to up your leadership and measurably improve your culture.
Note: While you don’t have to be a C12 member to savor the gold below, these five markers of healthy, flourishing culture are present in thousands of business leaders now improving their company’s performance and integrating their faith with their business.
C12 exudes Inspirational Leadership, one of the top two strongest predictors of employee engagement across all sectors surveyed by BCWI. Inspirational leaders, like Mike and C12’s peer advisors, demonstrate spiritual maturity and a growing, deepening personal relationship with Jesus because they are:
- Trustworthy, reliable and consistent
- Christ-like in character
- Competent across the board
Says Mike, “If we have the audacity to help thousands of people live out their faith in the marketplace, then we should do the same in our C12 staff culture.”
Mike’s confession: “Last year, in spite of all we were doing to improve our culture, we still had gaps. We listened to our people, admitted our errors, and made changes:
- We acknowledged people who had not been recognized for their work, including unsung heroes whose efforts didn’t show up on a scorecard.
- We righted unresolved conflict that was invisibly robbing people of joy (including nine people I had unknowingly offended).
- We created a new performance tracking protocol that synchs up every employee with their supervisor to be clear on what’s important, what’s been accomplished and what’s stuck.
Want something simple and brilliant? Mike told me, “Once a year, we go to our vendors—the print shop, accounting firm, IT professionals. We ask to meet all of their people, and they welcome us in. Then, we share with them the one-of-a-kind stories of how their services help further C12’s work with everyday people like them whose lives have turned around and been made whole. We tell them, ‘This story wouldn’t have happened without your involvement and support.’ They typically start crying because someone has connected their job to a life-changing outcome.”
[shareable cite="Mike Sharrow"]If we have the audacity to help thousands of people live out their faith in the marketplace, then we should do the same in our C12 staff culture."[/shareable]
C12 participant Lilian Radke is a Brazilian immigrant who runs a wildly successful commercial cleaning business in Massachusetts:
- Scaled from 6 employees to over 170 in the past 8 years.
- Consistently beats out the competition by modeling her inspiring commitment to God-honoring values like loving her people consistently.
- Result: Turnover has plummeted from 85% to 15%, unheard of in her industry sector.
- Lilian’s question: “Do you want to gamble on yourself, or gamble on God and his servant leadership?”
Says Mike, “Leaders can succumb to the myth that, ‘My organization, my influence is as good as it’s going to get.’ My response is what Jesus told his disciples who felt totally exhausted from fishing: ‘Try fishing over there.’ They took a deep breath, took Jesus at his word and ended up having a huge payday.'
“When you think you’ve tried the best you can, it doesn’t mean you’ve done all you can. Don’t settle for less than God’s best. Sure, it’s costly and tiring, but when you and your team decide not to give up, the net results for your culture and your organization can be incredibly rewarding.”
Do these five watchwords matter? Are they true? You decide:
When Mike became C12’s president in 2016, only 37% of the staff were engaged in their work. Today, three years later after regularly surveying with BCWI and committing to build a healthier culture, staff engagement has soared to 78%.
It's Your Turn
Which of these five words rings true to you and your workplace culture? Which word most affirms your culture—or offers a wake-up call to make a change for the better?
Coming Up Next in on our Continuing Series
“What’s Most Inspirational About Your Leadership?”
Roland Warren, President/CEO