When Your Staff Doesn’t Recommend Your Team – Episode 206 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

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On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend a friend or colleague to work at your church?”

According to Amy, this is the single most important conversation she has with pastors when engaging the Unstuck Teams Assessment, so I think you’ll find this concept both challenging and helpful as you lead your team toward health.


Last week, Amy and I discussed a recurring theme we’ve noticed in the results of the Unstuck Teams Assessment: the Fundamental Attribution Error. This week, we’re diving into another sign that your team might be getting stuck: a low Net Promoter Score.

Calculating your NPS score provides a great baseline to understand where your team is really at when it comes to their health and performance. It’s typically the most eye-opening and revealing question for senior pastors evaluating their team assessment results.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Solvable vs. perpetual problems
  • Understanding and calculating your NPS score
  • 3 next steps for improving team health
The first step in addressing a team problem is recognizing that it exists and identifying where it lives on our team. #unstuckchurch [episode 206] Click to Tweet We have to understand the health and performance of our team if we want to improve the health and performance of our team. #unstuckchurch [episode 206] Click to Tweet

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Sean (00:02):

Welcome to The Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we’re exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. How do you evaluate the culture of a team, and how can you be sure that that culture is healthy or identify when it’s drifting towards getting stuck? On today’s podcast, Tony and Amy continue our series on team health and performance with some tips and a key tool to assess your team’s health. As you’re listening today, I’d encourage you to jump over to theunstuckgroup.com/masterclass and register for our upcoming masterclass on healthy and high-performing teams. We’ve all been through a difficult year of remote work and quit pivots that have left many leaders burned out and some considering moving on. We want to help you and your team get back on track. Join Tony, Amy, our director of Unstuck Teams, Lance Witt, and others for a day that will help you and your team refocus and reenergize on the ministry season ahead. You can register and learn more at theunstuckgroup.com/masterclass. Now let’s join Tony and Amy as we continue our series on healthy and high-performing teams.

Tony (01:09):

Welcome back. This is actually week two of a three week series where we’re shifting our focus from the unstuck church to the unstuck team. And since Amy is just one of our key people when it comes to working with teams and around staffing and structure and all that’s healthy and good about teamwork, we have decided to switch roles, switch places, and I’m going to be asking her some questions about the unstuck team. Are you good with that, Amy?

Amy (01:34):

I’m ready. Sounds great. And by the way, what we’re discussing today might be the single most important conversation that I have with pastors when we engage the Unstuck Team’s Assessment. So I’m excited to get into this.

Tony (01:44):

Yeah. So today we want to discuss the challenge of leading a team who may not typically praise their workplace to their friends or colleagues. We have titled this “What to do when my staff indicates they don’t recommend others join our team.” And before we get to that, Amy, I wanted to ask you to walk us through the Unstuck Team’s Assessment, because this is where we get to that key question.

Amy (02:10):

Yep, of course. And the Unstuck Team’s Assessment engages teams to have an honest assessment of these six critical areas that you need to have covered in order to be a high-impact team. So there’s personal health, team health, personal performance, team performance, organizational systems, and organizational culture. Twelve questions in each of those. So it isn’t an overwhelming survey, but it gives us overwhelming results if I can say it that way. What I like about the assessment results is that they’re visually very clear on where a team’s strength is and where the gaps are. And reviewing results isn’t overwhelming. Because of this, you know, teams are able to quickly recognize their opportunities to improve health and performance. And when we see the challenges that emerge, Tony, in staffing and structure, I often find that there are solvable problems and there are perpetual problems that show up. And I’ve shared this before, but I got those terms in my husband and I were in counseling years ago. As we talk through some of the challenges that our marriage, we discovered that some of our problems were solvable, like who’s going to take the trash out each week, and some of them were perpetual. So my classic example, my husband’s very neat, tidy and simple. And so what comes out goes back away. I’m not wired that way. I’m more spontaneous. I don’t finish everything I start, at least not right away. And all that to say my husband and I had some solvable problems and some perpetual ones. And I think that it’s good to think about this when it comes to some of the challenges that come out of The Unstuck Team’s Assessment. Some of the challenges you’re not going to be able to solve. Some of them are just perpetual, but we can always get better at them, right? So solvable ones, for instance, from the assessment, do I know what a win for my job looks like? You know, we don’t have to have grayness there on what success looks like for our jobs. We can actually clarify those things if it’s not already clear. That’s a solvable problem. Another example, do we take time to honor the Sabbath? This is actually a solvable problem. We can design our systems and our culture so that work is shut down on the Sabbath. But some of the challenges are really perpetual. In classic example here would be internal communication. You know, do you think your team would ever say we have solved our internal communication problems?

Tony (04:26):

I’ve never heard a team say that, Amy.

Amy (04:28):

Never. Right? Because there’s always someone who’s going to be like, why am I just hearing about this now? Even if it was right when they’re supposed to. So those are examples of perpetual problems. And even though you can’t solve them, these are some of the key areas to get better at. Because if you’re lousy at internal communication, you’re going to have a lot of low scores throughout the assessment, because this is a big dial when it comes to leading a healthy team. So anyways, I love our Unstuck Team’s Assessment because it allows us to identify what our top priorities are. We can go through and say which ones are solvable, which ones are perpetual. But the first step in addressing the problem is recognizing that it exists and identifying where it lives on our team. Then we can create a plan to solve the solvables and alleviate some of the perpetual ones. So we recommend the Unstuck Teams Assessment because it gives simple direction for senior pastors and executive leaders at churches to understand where they’re healthy, where they have the opportunities to get better, without getting overwhelmed by pages and pages of data and questions that are tedious to decipher and can, you know, just simple feedback from. So the results of our assessments are straight forward and visually clear.

Tony (05:42):

Yeah, and we’ve seen some examples of just lots of, lots of data and then teams just don’t know what to do with all the information. All right. So we tease this up front, but I want to ask you about one of the key questions we ask on the Unstuck Team’s Assessment. It’s actually the net promoter question. And it’s the very last question of the assessment. We ask this: “On a scale of zero to 10, how likely are you to recommend a friend or colleague to come work at your church?” And the result from this question is called the net promoter score. Can you explain to our listeners what this net promoter score really is?

Amy (06:23):

Yeah, last week it was a fundamental attribution error. This week it’s the net promoter score. So getting an education in some new terms. Let me start with an example. So we all know the great Minnesota company Target, right? And if you’ve shopped there, you probably received a survey from them or some other business that says based on your experience, how likely are you to recommend Target to a friend or family member? And the results that come from this specific question in the survey will make up Target’s net promoter score. And I’m very familiar with this survey because my whole career I’ve been in customer service-oriented roles. In my experience, the net promoter score is probably the most widely used market research metric that service-based organizations use to assess their health. And so it’s a big question because if the score comes back high, it means your team member is endorsing the product or service that you sell. They’re putting their name to it and owning it, right? So if I recommend you shop at Target, Tony, I’m actually, my reputation is now linked to your experience at Target. So it’s hard to get a high score. On the flip side, if the score comes back low, you really don’t have people who are going to recommend your product or service to anybody. They didn’t like it enough to say, I’m going to attach my name to that. So if you break down the scoring system of the net promoter score, like you said, it goes from zero to 10. If the target shopper answers the survey with a nine or a 10, she would be labeled a promoter, right? These are your raving fans. If she answers with a seven or eight, she actually gets labeled as someone who’s passive, right? They’re like, I might recommend to a family. I might not. I’m kind of passive in the middle. And if anyone scores a six, that’s actually your detractors. They are not a fan of the experience or the product they use. So now I’m going to hit you with some simple math. Are you ready, Tony?

Tony (08:20):

Okay. I hope so.

Amy (08:21):

Here’s how you get your net promoter score. You take the percentage of promoters and then you subtract the percentage of detractors. So let’s say we have a hundred customers, all right? A hundred target shoppers, 40% of them answered with a nine or a 10. So those are the promoters. 20% of them are detractors, in the zero to six range. We would subtract 20 from 40 to get a net promoter score of 20. By the way, the passives just come out of the equation. We’re just looking at the percentage of promoters and detractors. So let’s say only 10% who took that survey came back as promoters, but 50% were detractors. Then our net promoter score goes to a negative 40. So the net promoter can range from negative 100 to a positive 100. And you don’t necessarily need to know all that math, but this is a trusted and widely used tool to assess the health of a service or a business. So when we survey in the Unstuck Team’s Assessment, we ask that question, Tony, how likely is it that you would recommend to a colleague or a friend to work here? It gets put through that net promoter math. And so anything from negative 100 to zero is a poor score. Zero to 50 is only a good score. 50 to 70 is an excellent score. And anything over 70 is world-class.

Tony (09:48):

Amy, with that, those ranges in mind. Can you give us some examples of some companies and where they are as far as their net promoter scores?

Amy (09:56):

Oh, sure. So like the hotel industry. As an industry overall, their net promoter score is 39, and I mentioned zero to 50 is good. So overall it’s a good score, but the Ritz Carlton, their net promoter score is a 68, which is almost at that world-class level. And we hear a lot about them, right? They’ve worked very hard to get above average in their industry. In the airline industry, the average net promoter score, these are pre-COVID, so we should probably reassess, but it was…

Tony (10:26):

Yes, in both of these categories, maybe.

Amy (10:29):

People traveling again. Industry average for airlines was 35, which is a good score, again, zero to 50, but Southwest, they’re the leader in this, they have a net promoter score of 71, which is a world-class score. And so it takes some hard work, right, to move from where you are today. So again, when we go, when we ask that question, it really provides a good baseline for leaders to understand where are we really at when it comes to being a healthy and high-performing team?

Tony (11:00):

Talking about the net promoter score in terms of our teams and our team health and performance. But part of me wonders if we shouldn’t be asking the same question about our churches themselves. And would you, based on your experience and connection to the church, would you invite a friend or a family member to be a part of our church as well? That would be fascinating, wouldn’t it? Amy, the net promoter score seems like a great tool for assessing a team’s health. And it makes a lot of sense why you decided to add that question to our Unstuck Team’s Assessment. Can you tell us how this market-based, customer service-oriented metric can be used to evaluate church teams?

Amy (11:41):

Yeah. So when we asked that question, how likely would it be that you recommend your friends or colleagues to work on this team? It’s really been the most eye-opening question for senior pastors, the results from that question. And this is typically how it typically goes when I walk through the assessment with senior pastors. So we’ll work through each of those six areas that we mentioned earlier, and we’ll go through it and we’ll highlight the things that we want to celebrate and kind of reinforce on the team based on the team’s feedback. And then we’ll highlight the things where there’s some challenges. And at the end of that time, we’ve seen lots of scores kind of in that mid range, Tony. So, you know, they have like a 6.8, a 7.1, things like that. And some pastors are really driven by the mediocre results and are ready to make some immediate improvements, right? But some pastors really wake up when they see the results of that last question, the net promoter one. There’ve been many times where that score is actually under zero. So it’s in the poor category, and it’s a moment for pastors. It’s a wake-up call. They didn’t really understand it until we walked through the assessment to explain what that net promoter is. And even honestly, for pastors in the zero to 50 range, which is the good, I see them take this score really personally, because pastors are usually very driven people, and they have a passion for why they went into ministry and they want their church to be all they can be. Every pastor wants an excellent grade on the net promoter score, but we rarely, rarely see it. So when an excellent grade does not come back, I often see pastors get sarcastic. They’ll say, oh good. So everyone responded with a high score on, I can take vacation when I want to, but I’d never recommend my colleague to work here? And I mean, I get it. The net promoter score is really revealing. All of the other scores can be rationalized, but this metric paints a black and white picture of where your team is at. It’s the real eye-opener again for pastors when they learned that many of their teammates may not love where they work and would not recommend it, you know, to others.

Tony (13:45):

Well, what do you tell teams when a low net promoter score comes back from the assessment, Amy?

Amy (13:50):

First, let me say again, my last response really sounds like a downer. No one wants to take the assessment now, but I’d love to share a success story. All right, for churches who have scored higher on the net promoter score, it’s been very rewarding to receive that feedback. There’s a church, Tony, near and dear to our heart. And several years ago, it was before we had our assessment, they had taken a different company’s assessment on team health and culture, and their scores were not great. But you know what they did? They got to work, and they started to tackle their health and culture gaps. Five years after that first assessment, they actually took ours, the Unstuck Team’s Assessment, and they have received one of the highest net promoter scores that I’ve seen from all the churches that we’ve worked with. So for the churches that have received a low score, what we don’t want to do is put our head in the sand. I think the reason a lot of senior pastors get surprised is that they’ve had a different view of what the team experience is like. Again, they’re at the top of the food chain. People around generally want them to like them, so the senior pastor often only sees the best of people, and they rarely get this full picture of the gaps that exist on a team. So they’re often shocked when the negative scores come back, but senior pastors, again, facts are your friends.

Tony (15:05):

So I understand it. As a senior leader of our team, if I found out that folks on the team weren’t excited about inviting friends and colleagues to join our team, Amy, that would be devastating for me. So help us consider what are some next steps that we need to be taking so that we can address this issue and get back to an area of health?

Amy (15:30):

Yeah, first I would say, share the results with your team. And this is always our advice to leaders. Teams have a lot of interest in the results of the assessment after they take it. And we encourage senior leaders to share the detailed results in the scores, instead of just giving a summary. And what that does is it offers real transparency. It allows the team to hold up a mirror to themselves and actually take some ownership of these results. The senior leaders can’t be the only ones that own the results, and team ownership is a huge first step towards a healthier culture and a higher net promoter score. And this is as easy as starting with an open and honest conversation with the team about the assessment. So the second thing then, once you shared those results, is actually take some action. Again, not everything needs action, but just the most important things. Solve the solvable problems and get a game plan pulled together for the perpetual ones. And by the way, when you share the results, you can get their input. I mean, just because it’s got a ranking of the highest scores to the lowest, Tony, it doesn’t always mean that the lowest one is the most important. And so getting the team’s impact helps leaders discern, what do we really need to take action on? And then the third thing, like this church I was just talking about, take the assessment again next year. Get a pulse on where you’re improving and where you’ve lost some ground. And if you continue to check in consistently, I believe you’ll end up where that healthy church did, completely turning the church culture around in five years. And when you do all three of these steps, right? Share the results, take action, assess again. When you do all of those three things, again, you are demonstrating that you want to lead a team that is both healthy and high performing. And how timely is this, Tony? Right now we’re seeing so many people moving around in ministry. How great would it be for our churches to have this culture that’s just a destination place because it’s known to be healthy? And coming out of the pandemic, and as we regather as teams, I think right now is really appropriate time to do an assessment like this. Get a baseline. You know, we’ve heard throughout the pandemic that people struggled through this time. Ministry has been tough. We’ve seen a lot of transition. So anyways, taking the assessment will demonstrate to your team your care for them and your commitment to being a high-performing team.

Tony (17:47):

And this is a really great time to take the assessment because as Amy suggested earlier, it’s free right now. So I want to encourage you. Take the assessment, but then also join us for our upcoming masterclass where we’re going to be walking through some of these aspects of how we can increase not only the health of the team, but the performance of the team as well. And so we want to give you the opportunity to do both the masterclass and the assessment. You can learn more about those at theunstuckgroup.com. Amy, any final thoughts before we wrap up today’s conversation?

Amy (18:24):

Yeah. My final thought is this. Let’s just be leaders who get comfortable with understanding where our teams are at. This is something you’ve heard me say before, but I’ll say it again. Facts are our friends. We encourage churches on the strategic side of The Unstuck Process to take The Vital Signs Assessment, to take The Unstuck Church Assessment, because we need to know how we’re doing. Before we ever plan with the church, we always assess first. We need to know where we’re winning. We need to know where our gaps are, and the same is true when it comes to our team. We need to understand the health and performance side of our team if we want to improve the health and performance side of our team. And by the way, when you take that assessment, there’s a coupon code for our podcast listeners, teams2021, to get that for free.

Sean (19:05):

Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. If you’re sensing this is a good time for you to assess the health of your team, don’t forget to take The Unstuck Teams Assessment, as well as jump over to theunstuckgroup.com forward/masterclass and register you and your team for our upcoming masterclass on August 19th. If you’re enjoying this podcast and it’s been helpful for you, we’d love your help in getting the content out farther. And you can do that by reading and reviewing the podcast on your favorite podcasting platform. Next week, we’re back with the conclusion of our three-part series on healthy and high-performing teams. So until then, we hope you have a great week.

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