If you are a man, you have probably owned a Gillette razor. Just like your father. And your grandfather.
Gillette, 115 years old, is one of American’s best known brands, at the top of its industry for over a century.
Spurred on by nearly universal name recognition, Gillette also practiced a time-tested and highly successful strategy that simply did not change through the years:
Add new features and raise prices.
More blades. Pivoting blades. Comfort strips, Ergonomic handles. Fancy colors.
You would think that a razor is just a razor, but Gillette would have proved you wrong. There was a seemingly bottomless appetite for the latest greatest in razor technology – all the bells and whistles. And a steadily increasing price tag.
The strategy worked great. Right up until it hit a brick wall.
Along came Harry’s. And Dollar Shave Club.
Delivering quality razors at a fraction of the price of Gillette’s. Delivered to your door, via a flexible plan.
The cheapest Gillette replacement razor blade was $2. Dollar Shave Club? Twenty cents.
In 2010, Gillette had 70% share of the men’s razor market.
By 2016, its share had plummeted to 54%.
So, recently Gillette slashed its prices.
We know we have to show guys that we have multiple price points, said its spokesperson.
They are doing too little too late and have already alienated customers, said many analysts.
Things change fast and Gillette was so invested in its strategy of more features/higher prices that it could not respond fast enough.
Its strategy had become part of its culture. Something that had worked well once – for a long time – had become enshrined as part of the DNA of the organization. It worked right up until the point where it didn’t.
Churches are notorious for nurturing things that have worked well at one time until they become part of the fabric of the congregation, untouchable and sacred.
So new leaders come in, determined to change things, stop doing stuff that doesn’t work anymore and isn’t relevant for the community and the surrounding culture.
And get killed.
You see, the solution is not change for change’s sake. The problem is not the razor blade. It’s not even the strategy.
The problem is a culture that doesn’t allow for innovation and change.
Change the culture, change the organization.
The work of crafting a thriving organizational culture is the work of every leader.
You want a culture that is:
- Aware and proactive, focused on new opportunities for ministry in the community.
- Respectful of dissenting voices, knowing they are often predictors of needed change, not ‘trouble-makers’.
- Tuned in to the volunteers, not assuming that clergy or formal leaders have all the answers.
Such a culture is spiritually energizing and missionally effective.
Ready to stop tinkering around the edges and dive into the real work of leadership – crafting a thriving church culture?
Our church Culture Architects are here to help you Discover current realities and craft a new and compelling vision that isn’t about pretty pictures but about the hard, rewarding work of changing a church culture from the inside out – remaining faithful to your core beliefs while developing the capacity to change and innovate to reach your community with the Gospel.
Start a conversation with a church Culture Architect here.
And take a moment to meet one of them by watching this short video.
Photo cred: Reuters