Becoming a high-impact team is worthy of your best skill and effort and leadership.

Peanut butter and jelly

Cookies and milk

Chips and salsa

Apple pie and ice cream

Macaroni and cheese

Burgers and Fries

Eggs and bacon

Chocolate and ANYTHING

There are a lot of foods that are good by themselves, but when you combine them with just the right culinary item, the flavor goes to a whole new level. The result is exponential. There is synergy.

Synergy is what happens when teams are able to be both healthy and high-performing. 

Health by itself is good and helpful. High-performance by itself is fruitful and productive. But bringing the two together creates exponential possibilities.

The best teams are both healthy and high-performing. They get along well and they get stuff done. There is a life-giving culture and a result-producing outcome. There is minimal dysfunction and maximum production. They focus on relationship AND results.

You can’t have a truly great team without both health and high-performance. Therefore, we need a bifocal perspective.

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 We need to be focused on the health of the team, and we also need to be focused on the performance and productivity of the team. One without the other will lead to a distorted view of team and ultimately less impact.

It is likely that one part of the bifocal lens is more comfortable and easier for us than the other. For some of us, our dominant skill is building health. Our nature is to be loving and nurturing toward our teammates. We find it easy to care for our team, but we may find it hard to manage toward results.

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People who are wired this way don’t have any trouble having a “caring conversation,” but they avoid like the plague having “courageous conversations.”

For those of us wired on the health side of the equation, the key word is relationship.

For others of us, organizational leadership comes easy. We are usually driven and achievement oriented. We love reading business books about leadership, and we naturally drive toward results, but we may find it more challenging to provide personal care and development for those on our team.

For those of us wired on the high-performance side of the equation, the key word is results.

If you have ever been part of a great team, you know it is something special. When there is good chemistry, and everyone is operating from their sweet spot, and the objectives are clear, and kingdom progress is being made, it is incredibly fulfilling and fun.

On the flip side, we are also acutely aware of what happens when there is dysfunction in the team:

  • There is stress, tension and frustration.
  • There is high turnover.
  • Rather than focusing on kingdom priorities, there is sideways energy spent on trying to manage the dynamics and dysfunction of the team.
  • We end up squandering opportunity, time, resources, and talent.
  • Bottom line: It’s not much fun for anybody on the team, and it distracts us from our mission.

Dysfunctional teams remind me of something I witnessed in a Major League Baseball game. It was a Sunday afternoon and the Washington Nationals were playing the Phillies near the end of the season. The Nationals were no longer in contention for a playoff spot. It was the 8th inning, and Bryce Harper hit a routine fly ball that was an easy catch for the outfielder. He didn’t hustle and run out the play until he knew the ball was caught.

He slowly started to jog toward first base, and then just turned to go into the dugout. His teammate Jonathan Papelbon got angry and spouted off at Harper, apparently for not hustling. They got into an argument and went to blows right there in their own dugout. It was not exactly a great team moment.

That incident was a poignant reminder to me that just because you’re wearing the same uniform doesn’t mean you are functioning as a team. Your staff or key volunteers might all be wearing the same uniform of “ministry,” but that doesn’t mean they are an effective team.

I love the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:16 (NLT): 

“He [God] makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

When you think about it, this verse is a beautiful portrait of a great team.

“Each part does its own special work”

There is clarity around what people are supposed to do. Everybody knows their job, and they actually execute. Each part “DOES” its special work. They are getting stuff done and making progress. And, as each part does its own special work, they are contributing to the success of the Whole.

“It helps the other parts grow”

There is synergy and partnership. There is not a silo mentality. On a great team, people are not solely focused on themselves and their job or department. All great teams possess a collaborative and unselfish spirit.

On a great team, people are not solely focused on themselves and their job or department. All great teams possess a collaborative and unselfish spirit. Click To Tweet

Then Paul wraps up the verse by identifying the end result. 

“So that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

The result is health and growth and love. It’s not just health. And it’s not just growth. The end result is health and growth in an environment marked by love.

Before you dig any deeper, I want to ask you to pause. 

Spend a few moments thinking about the kinds of teams you have been a part of. Think of the best team you’ve ever been on. What qualities made it a great team? What were some of the intangibles? And then think of the worst team you’ve ever been on or led. What made it unhealthy? Unproductive?

But I don’t want you to linger too long over the past. Make note of the lessons and then turn your eyes toward the future. 

I want to ask you to pull up from the day-to-day grind of “what is” and have a vision for “what could be.”

Use your sanctified imagination and complete the following statement.

“I would love to be part of a team that…”

I would challenge you to write down some of your thoughts. Create a few bullet points that would flesh out the kind of team you would dream of.

Becoming a high-impact team is worthy of your best skill and effort and leadership.

  1. Are you more wired to focus on health or high-performance?
  2. How does your natural wiring help your team?
  3. How can your natural wiring be a challenge in “doing” team?
  4. What is one thing that you have seen or experienced that can create dysfunction in a team?

If you’re interested in building a healthy and high-performing team, we have some exciting team resources coming in 2020. We can’t dig into the details yet, but when we can, you’ll be the first to know.

I’m Interested in Building a Healthy, High Performing Team.

This is an excerpt from High Impact Teams by Lance Witt

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