Highly Productive Teams Need This to Thrive

Leaders must learn how to make the future in the midst of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. It is hard to even think about the future if you are overwhelmed by the present, but that is exactly the time when foresight can be most practical. Looking to distant possibilities can provide new insight for the present.

Some leaders will judge too soon and draw simplistic conclusions while others will decide too late and pay a price for their lack of courage or inaction. Some will be overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness while others will become cynical and question everything around them.

Leaders need not be overwhelmed by the volatile world around them. They must have the skills to take advantage of those opportunities, as well as the agility to sidestep the dangers.

Leadership is more preparation than planning. Planning relies on predictability. But preparation helps leaders stay clear amid uncertainty. Planning assumes continuity; preparation equips leaders to be flexible enough to seize opportunity.

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Chris Fussell, One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams

Too often, companies end up with teams stuck in their own silos, pursuing goals and metrics in isolation. Their traditional autocratic structures create stability, scalability, and predictability — but in a world that demands constant adaptation, this traditional model fails.

In Team of Teams, retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal and former Navy SEAL Chris Fussell made the case for a new organizational model combining the agility, adaptability, and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization. Now, in One Mission, Fussell channels all his experiences, both military and corporate, into powerful strategies for unifying isolated and distrustful teams.

This practical guide will help leaders in any field implement the Team of Teams approach to tear down their silos, improve collaboration, and avoid turf wars. By committing to one higher mission, organizations develop an overall capability that far exceeds the sum of their parts.

From Silicon Valley software giant Intuit to a government agency on the plains of Oklahoma, organizations have used Fussell’s methods to unite their people around a single compelling vision, resulting in superior performance. One Mission will help you follow their example to a more agile and resilient future.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION – Build a single, aligning narrative

Some of the most difficult part of taking action and moving forward takes place before you are required to take action. You may glimpse a solution to a problem, but don’t hit the gas pedal yet – is your team aligned?

For the church, being out of alignment means severe limitations to missional effectiveness and efficiency.

If we were to become a hybrid model that maintained top-down alignment while also empowering our individual teams to make coordinating autonomous decisions, each team would need a deep enough understanding of strategy to operationalize it without top-down direction. To do this, we would needed to create a powerful narrative that not only would unite our teams on our organization’s single mission but would also tell them how to achieve that mission.

The idea of strategic alignment is not new; for years, bureaucratic organizations running on a traditional model have worked to make sure their teams are strategically aligned. However, in most cases, this alignment comes from the top; experiences has shown the traditional top-down approach to vertical alignment can actually mask horizontal misalignment and further fuel narrative divide among teams.

In typical organizations, as complexity increases, so do horizontal gaps and resultant mistrust among silos. The belief is that strategic leadership announces a goal and that it cascades down to the operational level and further down to a tactical level.

Unfortunately, an open-ended, vaguely unifying objective actually serves to reinforce disconnects among teams because it can mean different things to different subordinate silos, which worsens horizontal alignment.

With little transparency and few direct lines of communication between teams and leaders, each of us could use the organization’s overarching objective to feed our myopic view of the fight.

In openly addressing the need to demonstrate more informal interconnectivity, defy tribal barriers, and eschew reserve in favor of transparency, our leadership began to model a new type of behavior consistent with its still-developing aligning narrative.

Every day, our aligning narrative and its associated behaviors became increasingly ingrained in our thinking, a product of the repetition of messages coming from our leadership and of observing the impact that this new approach begin to have on the battlefield.

Chris Fussell, One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams

A NEXT STEP

How does your organization currently measure horizontal alignment among its teams and functional silos? Often leaders make the assumption that their team is organized and moving in the same direction so that everybody’s efforts align toward the same purpose.

As we all know, that is seldom the case.

Using the phrases below, review your team’s alignment. Write the phrases on a chart tablet:

  • Communication is clear
  • The team is working in alignment
  • The “Win” has been defined
  • Operating environment is understood before taking action
  • Skill and performance standards exist

First have your team write down their individual rating on a scale of 1-10, where 1 represents total absence and 10 represents total agreement.

Then, discuss everyone’s rating, arriving at a consensus score for each of the five statements.

If there are statements with a composite score of 7 or below, develop action plans to move the score up in the next three months.

Your teams might claim to trust and have open lines of dialogue with one another – but can they demonstrate examples of how this trust is helping accomplish your organization’s strategy?

Based on the above exercises and questions, how would an aligning narrative be best emphasized and contextualized for your teams?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 76-3, issued September 2017.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

>> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

 

 

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Alignment Eats Accomplishment for Lunch

When you have a vague or undefined strategy, your leaders will invent their own.

Auxano Founder Will Mancini believes that over 90% of churches in North America are not functioning with strategic clarity. Many churches have some kind of expression for mission and values, but not for strategy. The absence of strategy, as Mancini defines it, is the number one cause of ineffectiveness in a healthy church.

This map, or strategy picture, is like a container that holds all church activities in one meaningful whole. Without this orientation, individuals within the organization will forget how each major component or ministry activity fits to advance the mission.

When you don’t have a strategy, or your strategy isn’t clear, a threefold problem can occur:

  • too many ministry or program options and no prioritization;
  • ministry options that have no relationship with one another;
  • ministries themselves have no connection to the mission.

Having a clear map – one that shows how you will get things done – is a strong indicator that the effectiveness of your mission will go through the roof. Strategic clarity can birth a quantum leap in your ministry.

Build for team alignment rather than individual accomplishment.

THE QUICK SUMMARY: Execution IS the Strategy, by Laura Stack

In today’s world of rapid, disruptive change, strategy can’t be separate from execution—it has to emerge from execution. You must continually adjust your strategy to fit new realities. But, if your organization isn’t set up to be fast on its feet, you could easily go the way of Blockbuster or Borders.

Laura Stack shows you how to quickly drive strategic initiatives and get great results from your team. Her LEAD Formula outlines the Four Keys to Successful Execution:

  • The ability to Leverage your talent and resources
  • Design an Environment to support an agile culture
  • Create Alignment between strategic priorities and operational activities
  • Drive the organization forward quickly

She includes a leadership team assessment, group reading guides, and bonus self-development resources. Stack will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and inspiration to help you hit the ground running!

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

If members of your team are working hard but have lost focus of the mission of your organization, you are facing a double threat: your overall mission is not being accomplished and your team members are likely heading toward burnout.

The most successful team members work together for more than a paycheck or for keeping busy. They are engaged in the mission, and feel that they are an important part of achieving that mission. They are serving with a sense and purpose of something that is greater.

On the other hand, team members who have lost focus on the mission of the organization may just be going though the motions of working together. When this occurs, the organization is entering a danger zone.

Even those who work the hardest will inevitably crash and burn in their productivity if they lose track of the mission. Help them reorient and align themselves if they’ve lost their focus on their mission with a 4-R Reconnection Strategy.

Reestablish awareness. Have team members evaluate their current positions by asking, “Which of my activities contribute most of my value to my organization.” If they can’t answer that, have them invest personal time in figuring out where they got off course and how they might fix it.

Realign them. Make sure the mission and their perception of it match up. If your team becomes misaligned, they may be wasting time on the wrong things. If that is the case, it doesn’t matter how hard they work to get the job done; their productivity will crash.

Repair their connection. Once your team members know where they are and where they should be, have them make any necessary course corrections. After that, help them tweak or overhaul their workflow process to get it back on track and in sync with the mission.

Rededicate them to the mission. Have the team members reaffirm their commitment to your organization. Help them understand how each contributes to the collective effort to move the organization forward.

Laura Stack, Execution IS the Strategy

A NEXT STEP

Using the Four-R process above, realign your leadership team to the mission of the church.

First, write “Our Mission” on the top of a flip chart page and hand every person a sticky note. Without looking at phones, tablets, or printed materials, have each leader write the mission of the church from memory on a sticky note. Place all the notes on the flip chart page. Discuss the results, noting the degree (or lack of) shared knowledge of the church’s mission. (Remember Howard Hendricks’ ageless quote: if it’s a mist in the pulpit, it’s a fog in the pew.)

Now write the actual mission on another flip chart page, and with a renewed focus on the missional mandate of the church, have each leader write ministry activities that CONTRIBUTE DIRECTLY to the mission on one color sticky note and ministry activities that while good, DO NOT CONTRIBUTE DIRECTLY to the mission.

How can your leaders help each other to focus activity toward mission accomplishment? How can you learn from each other and lean toward God’s calling for the church? Record some specific initiatives and next steps on a third flip-chart page, assigning responsibility to a team member.


Taken from SUMS Remix 38-1, published April 2016


This is part of a weekly series posting content from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix Book Summaries for church leaders. SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; and each solution is taken from a different book. As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.