Monday, September 13, 2010

Leading Teams

I love it that football is back. There is something about both NCAA and NFL football that makes the Fall especially worthwhile. Monday night football, Hank Williams Jr. singing "Are You Ready For Some Football" and two hour pre-game shows are a part of the weekly experience. At this time of the year there are lots of great memories that flash through my mind like little Kodak pictures including my son and I watching and talking football together.

Football, football teams, sports and teams in general are great analogies to describe life. Everyone has likely heard that "There is no 'I' in 'TEAM", which is true and not without meaning.

Here are two quick lessons I have learned from football, football teams, sports and teams in general. They are very applicable to the local church but also to other cooperative endeavors:
  1. All teams need a leader

    This is true whether the team is small or large. While its nice to see cooperative leadership, democratic principles and egalitarian opportunities, teams still need a leader. Leaders help set the vision and the direction. Leaders also make sure that objectives are clearly stated and that everyone stays on task. Team leaders are also the ones that make the adjustments when needed, and as needed, so that energy is not wasted and time critical functions are performed. Teams that lack leaders, or just as importantly lack good leaders, are bound to be more focused on process rather than results, tasks rather than talent, and inputs rather than outputs.

  2. Every team member needs a job; all jobs need an owner.

    There is a saying that is often true regarding getting things done: "If no one really owns it, no one will do it". I'm a big fan of making sure that people are operating in their "sweet spot", the exact place where God has given them specific talents and ability. However, I'm even a bigger fan of accomplishing the mission. Just as football games are about blocking and tackling (the most basic assignments) leaders need to make sure that all of the necessary tasks and assignments are owned by someone, regardless of how unimportant or seemingly menial.

Most often, the team (insert your company, department, church or group here) that has only average or mediocre talent and resources but has superior leadership and good task ownership will succeed while others will fail. While teams succeed where individuals fail, it is the individuals that ultimately make teams successful.


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