THINKING ABOUT CULTURE

When you walk into your favourite coffee shop, what do you notice?  Is it the fresh aroma of ground coffee, or the friendly, smiling staff, on mission to make your day better?  Is it the trendy colours, artwork and finishes of the store?  Is it the casual seating? Is it the little label they put on your coffee, to ensure you got exactly what you ordered?

If your coffee shop is part of a chain or franchise, all of these carefully designed elements contribute to their corporate culture. The elements include CommunicationsSystems and Facilities.  Multiplied over thousands of stores around the world, they create a familiar, warm culture.  If your coffee shop is a single mom-and-pop store, it is probably more folksy, but with its own unique culture!

YOUR CULTURE

Now place yourself in your church or organization.  What do you notice when you walk in?  How would you describe the décor – what decade?  What does it smell like? Does it "feel" young or old, updated or outdated?  What music is playing in the lobby? What visual messages are you receiving? Is there anywhere to ask questions? Does it feel like you crashed someone else's party?

Culture is all around us, but culture is often perceived as an overall ethos or feeling.  In reality, back at your coffee shop, someone has worked very hard to create that great environment.  How do large organizations go about revitalizing their environment and culture?  Is it even possible to change the culture of an organization, or are we simply stuck with what we have?

Well, it is definitely possible to lay a great foundation to revitalize your organization’s culture.  The solutions may be knocking at your door, and the steps to achieving them are probably more systematic than you might think.  In fact, you might currently be working hard and spending money that is working against a potential cultural revolution.  We are here to help.

OUR STORY

This journey started with a road.  Gary Sharpe is a Civil Engineer and Project Manager who designed major Highways in the Toronto area as a Consultant to the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, before becoming an Associate Pastor of two large churches in Waterloo Region, Ontario: Grandview Church and Forward Church.  Gary also served as Director of International Programs at International Teams of Canada, in Elmira, Ontario.

Gary has an eye for culture and change management, and is a natural at organizational leadership, relational team building, and the revitalization of systems.  After working in the marketplace for a number of years, Gary found working at Christian organizations to be an eye opener!  He noticed that organizations which are often on the cusp of a great movement are sometimes hindered by things like systems and facilities.  And, at times a dated culture can impede growth, even when hearts are in the right place.

Gary began to talk to technical friends who work in the marketplace, about the idea of professionals using their skill set to assist our local churches and community organizations.  People from various disciplines jumped in to offer their skills:  graphic design, web design, systems design, and facility design.  The SharpEdge Group was born.

We've chosen the consultant model because that is the way we work in our professional environments.  But really, we are a group of friends who have a strong desire to use our technical skills to push churches and community organizations forward.

OUR APPROACH

There are many facets and elements to culture.  But we feel that consistently laying the groundwork to create culture in three categories makes sense: CommunicationsSystems, and Facilities.

Technical folks are well known for their problem solving strategy, and we are no exception.  We examine existing conditions, creatively dream up solutions with past experience in mind, and then present custom made options.  Our goal is to add value to your organization in an efficient and effective way.

Our Seven Values

  1. We are Purpose-Centered.  Our work is carried out with purpose, and clarity for your community.  Our purpose is to remove barriers that may be hindering your growth, so that you organization can achieve its mission.
  2. We are Professionals. We are marketplace professionals who desire to build up churches and community organizations, through technical and cultural revitalization.
  3. We are Efficient. We are with you for a short time, adding cultural value to your organization, with thoughtful, custom made recommendations.  We utilize technology to communicate with you, and work mainly offsite.
  4. Our Team is for Your Team. We are a team, and consider ourselves an extension of your team.  When you are working in an organization, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees; sometimes having an outside perspective is just what you need to push you forward.
  5. We are Thoughtful. We are thoughtful, and realize the variety and diversity of organizations.  We are trans-denominational, and have already worked with churches and organizations from a variety of backgrounds.  We won't make suggestions that bulldoze your existing culture.
  6. We are Sharpeners. We exist to help you sharpen your approach, and your culture.  When our job is done, we stand back and watch you be successful!

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

Our services are tailored to you, so there is no "one-size-fits-all" price for our services.  We follow a consulting model, so here are the steps:

  1. We talk to you to determine the scope of work.
  2. We prepare a proposal for you, outlining some options.  We assemble  a team with the technical skills to work on your project, and work out an estimate based on discounted hourly rates.
  3. You determine what options you need, together we sign an agreement, talk schedule, and the work begins!

OUR TEAM

All of our team members have day jobs in the marketplace, which means they are contributing to your project with a wealth of real world experience.  It also means that they can contribute to your organization without breaking the bank; they will be working in a timely way, but fitting your project into their busy schedules. Each team member has agreed to be called on to contribute to specific projects, at a discounted hourly rate, when their input is required.  This results in an efficient , solution-based team. Plus, we are friends and just love to work together, to help organizations like yours.

Gary Sharpe, P. Eng., M.C.M.

Team Leader & CEO

Yash Shah

Web Design and Development

Troy Bierman

Systems and Technology

Ken Sommer

Facilities Design

Peter Loeppky

Systems and Technology

Marcus Balogh

Systems and Technology

Anthony Goodhoofd

Graphic Design

Jonelle Rickets

Marketing

David Graydon

Governance Systems

YOUR NEXT STEP

As the leader of your team or organization, you may need a cultural tweak for the systems your key staff use.  Or, you may be looking for a cultural revolution within your entire organization.  Either way, the first step is to call us at 519-502-2419 or email us.