Tony Hsieh presents while on his Delivering Happiness Bus Tour

Yesterday, I was able to hear Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh speak about business, culture and happiness. It was much of what I heard at Big Omaha, but it was still as good as before. (To read my Big Omaha post about Tony Hsieh, click here.)

I enjoy listening to Tony speak. He hits a lot on establishing culture at your business, and working at something that has a higher purpose than yourself. With my line of work this is important. I think it’s key to establish a culture at a church. It needs to have a clear mission and vision or else you’re just spinning your wheels. (This is one of the reasons why I’m excited about Double Your Impact, the recently affirmed vision for Christ Community Church.)

I also appreciate being reminded of why I do what I do. I’ve encountered a lot of people in ministry who are in it for the wrong reasons. Hearing a talk like Tony’s has me asking myself why I do what I do. I evaluate where I’m headed. (And thankfully I’m where I should be.)

I won’t recap the entire presentation, since you can read that on my Big Omaha Tony Hsieh post. I will hit on some points that I liked hearing again.

  • One of the big reasons he sold LinkExchange, a startup he founded in ’96 and sold in ’98, was due to him dreading going to work. He had hired people with the right skill sets, but they weren’t the right fit with business’ culture. This is key for ministries. You can have all the skills and experience, but if you aren’t a good fit for a church or community’s culture then you shouldn’t be working there.
  • How does it look for a church to provide the best customer experience without compromising the truth? Zappos is all about providing the best customer experience, and it shows. 75% of their daily orders are from repeat customers and they now do over 1 billion a year in sales. Zappos leverages that brand loyalty and invests into instead of investing into advertising. This happens at a cost, but they believe they recoup their costs with brand loyalty and with free advertising from word-of-mouth. It’s about connecting with customers in a personal way. This is something CCC wants, to make a personal connection with people in the church and community.
  • To help in connecting with customers, Zappos trains their employees in using Twitter. They also have a webpage that compiles all tweets from their employees. And, I have a hard time just getting other pastors to blog once a month.
  • Customer Experience – What do customers expect? What do customers actually experience? What emotions do customers feel? What stories do they tell their friends? How can culture create more stories and memories?
  • Two books Zappos believe in are Good To Great and Tribal Leadership. They have giving library, not a lending library, where they give books to people. While CCC is not exactly the same, I do appreciate Lead Pastor Mark offering books we sell for free to those who don’t have means to purchase them.
  • Commit to transparency. Be real and you have nothing to fear. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Especially true in ministry and community. For instance, if you want to have impact within a small group, there needs to be transparency.
  • Adopt core values that you can hire and fire people from. Employees need to fit the culture. Applicants to Zappos are interviewed on each of the ten core values.
  • This is one thing Lead Pastor Mark does well. Tony talked about, “It doesn’t matter what core values are, but whether you align and commit to them.” When Mark initiates something, he sees it through. At CCC, I remember hearing a few people minimize the RISKS idea that was developed for discipleship here. They didn’t think it would last and recalled previous initiatives (before Mark’s arrival) that failed. I don’t hear those kind of remarks anymore.

There were many other great insights as well. If you missed the presentation, Silicon Prairie News has footage from yesterday’s presentation available on their website.

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