THE WISDOM OF TEAMS
A team is a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and an approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.
What’s your definition a team and how do you ensure that they’re effective? When churches ask for assistance in launching teams. I usually ask them the following five questions.
- What tangible results are you seeking to achieve? I want to find out if their goals are sufficiently compelling to inspire others to invest their time and energy.
- How will you measure the progress toward the desired result? I like to see a plan that highlights short-term wins along the way toward fulfilling the desired result.
- What’s the best way to organize your efforts? Sometimes one or two project coordinators can achieve the same results in less time and less investment of resources. There’s always more than one way to get the job done. Choose the right path for the right reasons.
- What’s your criteria for selecting team members? How do you ensure that you get the right people on the bus and in the right seats? I’m usually looking for people who are nimble, adaptive, self-starters who are passionate about the team’s purpose and have unique gifts to bring to the table. This question also raises the issue of how many people should be on the team.
- What are your specific expectations for the team and each participant? I often hear congregational leaders fretting about members who fall short of their expectations. I usually ask, “Did you give team members a job description? Have you shared with them your expectations? In most cases, the answer is “no.” We usually get what we accept (or communicate).
When I ask people to describe good team experiences, sports teams are often brought up along with teams involved with plays and musical concerts. In both settings, the purpose and wins of the team are clearly identified. I love watching symphonies and jazz concerts because everyone knows their part in creating an exceptional experience. Do your team members know what they bring to the table? Are these gifts regularly used and celebrated? What wisdom do you have about building great teams?