Will You Just Answer the Question Already?

The same question, coming from 3 different conversations with 3 different pastors over the course of 3 different days prompted this series of posts.

Q: How do you put together a team of leaders to guide a church through a new ministry initiative or project?

My reply is that you don’t just want a team, you need a high-performing team. The foundational work that I have used for several years is based on what Pat MacMillan, author of The Performance Factor, has described as the six characteristics of a high-performing team. 

The first characteristic was a common purpose. The second was crystal clear roles.

Here are the remaining four characteristics:

  • High performance teams need – no, demand – accepted leadership capable of calling out the levels of initiative and creativity that motivate exceptional levels of both individual and collective performance.
  •  High performance teams have effective processes. They identify, map, and then master their key team processes. They constantly evaluate the effectiveness of key processes, asking: How are we doing? What are we learning? How can we do it better?
  • High performance teams must work out of a foundation of solid relationships. The relational qualities of trust, acceptance, respect, courtesy, and a liberal dose of understanding are needed for high levels of team effectiveness.
  • High performance teams have excellent communication. No team can move faster than it communicates; fast, clear, and accurate communication is the key to thinking and acting collectively.
courtesy triaxiapartners.com

courtesy triaxiapartners.com

It’s a short list – only six characteristics. But each characteristic plays a specific and vital role in making the team effective. Notice the arrangement of the characteristics – a wheel shape. In a sense, each one is equal and necessary. If one of these six characteristics is missing or inadequate, the team is limping at best. Think of the wheel on your car: if it is out of balance or alignment, the performance is affected. What starts out as a distraction can turn into a disaster.

By the way, if you click on the image above, the link will take you to the website of author Pat MacMillan’s company for detailed explanations of each of the 6 characteristics, along with a wealth of other resources.

Back to your car’s alignment – the same is true for your team: if two or three of these characteristics are missing, your group is probably not a team at all.

Here’s my quick answer for the question above.

A: You start by bringing together a group of people who effectively demonstrate the six characteristics of a high-performing team. Once the team is together, the work begins.

TEAM + WORK = TEAMWORK

Now the fun begins…

inspired by and adapted from The Performance Factor by Pat MacMillan

The Performance Factor 

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Still Answering the Question of the Week…

A continuing discussion coming from 3 different conversations with 3 different pastors over the course of 3 different days, but all having the same question:

Q: How do you put together a team of leaders to guide a church through a new ministry initiative or project? 

Pat MacMillan, author of The Performance Factor, and Seth Godin, author of Tribes, have been a great resource for me in working with church teams. Here is the second of several posts on the topic.

The first characteristic was a common purpose.

High performance teams are also characterized by crystal clear roles.

Every team member is clear about his or her particular role, as well as those of other team members. Roles are about how we design, divide, and deploy the work of the team. While the concept is compellingly logical, many teams find it very challenging to implement in practice. When they get it right, though, team members discover that making their combination more effective and leveraging their collective efforts is an important part to synergistic results.

Broadly speaking, there are three types of team roles:

  • Functional (technical) expertise team roles – qualities and knowledge each member brings to the team
  • Formal team roles – skills needed for a specific role like team leader or facilitator
  • General team roles – the expectations placed on any member of the team so that objectives are met

Role Design Criteria

  • Clear – everyone must have role clarity or you will have role confusion
  • Complete – cover the whole task – no gaps
  • Compatible – match tasks to individual strengths and skills
  • Complementary – configure roles so that one person’s accomplishment doesn’t hinder or block someone else from their task
  • Consensual – agree on who is to do what and how

This is my part of our job and no one is done until everyone is done

A: Defining the common purpose of the team is the first step of creating a team; that common purpose is the reason for cooperation. Following that, the church must develop an appropriate division of labor and create clear roles for team members. This is the strategy for cooperation.

 
inspired by and adapted from The Performance Factor by Pat MacMillan and Tribes by Seth Godin
The Performance FactorTribes

The Question of the Week is…

How do you put together a team of leaders to guide a church through a new ministry initiative or project?

3 different conversations with 3 different pastors over the course of 3 different days, but all having the same question!

As with all great questions, the answer begins with another question. One of the first I would ask is Why does this group exist? How that question is answered will determine, to a great measure, the success of the team. Pat MacMillan, author of The Performance Factor, and Seth Godin, author of Tribes, have been a great resource for me in working with church leadership teams.

The single most important ingredient in a team’s success is a clear, common, compelling task.

The power of a team flows out of each team member’s alignment to its purpose. The task of any team is to accomplish an objective and to do so at exceptional levels of performance. Teams are not ends in themselves, but rather a means to an end.

The power of teamwork flows out of alignment between the interests of individual team members and the mission of the team. MacMillan found that to achieve such alignment, team members must see the task as:

  • Clear – I see it.
  • Relevant – I want it.
  • Significant – It’s worth it.
  • Urgent – I want it…now!
  • Achievable – I believe it.

So you want to put together a leadership team for a specific project?

NEWS FLASH: There really is an “I” in team – if the individual members aren’t committed to a clear, common, and compelling task as individuals first, then you really won’t have much of a team.

So, the first answer to the question above?

A: First, the church needs to have a clear understanding of what the team is expected to accomplish. That clear purpose will serve as a guide to seeking individuals who will bring their collective wisdom together to form, over time, a team to accomplish the task.

inspired by and adapted from The Performance Factor by Pat MacMillan and Tribes by Seth Godin

The Performance FactorTribes