Three Keys to Creating High-Performance Teams

Three Keys to Creating High-Performance Teams

Teams are important because of synergy. Churches get people to give them money to create volunteer positions for them to fill.

If you don’t know why something is working when it is working, you won’t know how to fix it when it breaks.

But leaders are generally bad at evaluating things that work. Leaders tend to be good at evaluating problems. This is why church leaders tend to blame things that break on people rather than systems. You might not need a new youth pastor; you might need a new system.

When you see something working well, ask, “Why is this working so well?” The reason things work well at churches is because of high performance teams. Regardless of the size of your ministry, you want and need high performance teams.

You need action-oriented people who have extraordinary clarity around what are we doing, why are we doing it, and why are we doing it here?

Irreducible Minimums for High Performance Teams

#1 :: Select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum people.

Recruit doers and not thinkers.
If you have to choose between a doer and a thinker, choose a doer. It is much easier to educate a doer than it is to activate a thinker. Jim Collins says, “If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate people largely goes away.” Great vision without great people is irrelevant.

Put people where they can create their greatest contribution.
Albert Einstein says, “Everyone is a genius, but But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” You’ve got to figure out a way within your organization to get the best people in the right roles. It usually takes bypassing the politics of who deserves the role by tenure.

Everyone on the team needs to feel the interdependency of the team.
Speak to your staff and volunteers so that they understand the interdependency. The senior pastor depends on the children’s ministry volunteers in order to do what he does. Every role is essential to the whole ministry. Interdependency won’t be felt unless key leaders makes people feel valued and that their roles are important.

#2 :: Clarify the what and why.

Performance oriented people like to win.
You must clarify the win for every staff and volunteer position. When you clarify the win, it becomes the magnetic north for the energy and get-it-done doers of the organization. When you don’t define the win, each individual will define it for themselves.

Teams dissolve when the problems are all solved.
Conversations about change don’t begin around conversations about the problems. Conversations about change begin around conversations about a common goal.

You have to organize to the what.
Once you clarify the win/what, you must create an organization where all of the resources are allocated to that win. Don’t force your staff and volunteers to have to work around what your organization was structured for. Nothing frustrates high energy people more than having to do work arounds. The lion’s share of your time and money must go to getting critical mass.

#3 :: Orchestrate and evaluate everything.

Orchestrate means this is how we don it here until further notified. Great teams never depend on individual thinking and creativity. Great teams know exactly what the play is when it is called. Linebackers don’t get creative except when in trouble. Orchestration is the elimination of discretion. High performance teams stick with the playbook.

Orchestration brings consistency and predictability to all of your processes. Orchestration will make your organization seem more personal.

Evaluate everything.
Create a feedback loop.

As a leader you must stay close to critical events, or you will default to numbers, which get exaggerated. Figure out how to get close to key events in your church. Has your organizational growth pushes you so far back that all you see is numbers? Numbers are never accurate. See it for yourself as often as possible, and create meetings in between to learn more than numbers.

What you are doing is so important.

Notes created by Kent Shaffer from Catalyst Conference 2012. Used by permission of Kent Shaffer,

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