From the outside looking in, great teams or organizations appear to run seamlessly. They have great systems and processes, and a team that works like a well-oiled machine. They reach their goals, are effective and make continual forward progress. Great teams are the standard that every other team measure themselves against.
As much as great processes and systems no doubt exist and are necessary within every great team or organization, there is one thing that must be present for success that will be sustainable over time: Unity.
Without unity as a team, we will fall into ruts of mediocrity, complexity and disorganization which will create chaos and ultimately keep us from reaching our goals. It creates the false allusion that we’re moving in the right direction. Here are three things that keep us from unity as a team:
- Lack of vision. Vision is your desired destination. It’s the the goal or “why” you do what you do. Our vision should be clear and sticky. Every member of the team should be able to repeat and communicate the vision of your organization. Vision is not the same as mission. Mission is why you exist. Vision is “the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom” based on your mission. Have you defined your why? Does everyone in your organization or team know what that is and can they/do they repeat it to those they lead? Without clear vision and a unified desired destination it is impossible to succeed over time. We might have burst of success, but that success will be temporary.
- Lack of Strategy. Strategy is a plan to get you to your desired destination or vision. Vision doesn’t just come to fruition without a plan or a strategy. Your strategy should be simple and yes, repeatable. Think of it this way: We have a vision to climb a 14k foot mountain (I live in Colorado and this seems to be the badge of honor as a Coloradan). Climbing a 14er is the vision or the goal. What are the steps (or strategy) that I must follow in order to see my vision become a reality? My strategy might be: increasing my fitness, proper equipment, setting the date, proper nutrition and planning my route. What is your strategy to reach your goal/vision? What is the simple plan, steps or dials that you will keep turning in order to achieve your vision?
- Lack of Communication. We can have the best vision and strategy, but if we never communicate it to those on our team, we’ll never hit our mark. Communicate always and often! Keep it simple, sticky and repeatable. Take your vision and strategy and refine them down to one or two words… seriously. And then begin every conversation, every meeting and every 1:1 with the vision and strategy. When we create language for why we do what we do, we rarely have to communicate the how, the how just naturally happens.
Maybe your team or organization is struggling to meet goals and finds itself stalled-out, it could be that you’ve lost sight of your vision and strategy. It might mean that there is confusion about why you do what you do. Maybe the vision and strategy is solid, it could be that a common language has not been established to communicate effectively why you do what you do.
An easy way to discover where your team or organization is when it comes to unity is to grade yourself on these three elements above. We like to call this a “Blameless Autopsy”. Have everyone on the team give the organization a grade (A, B, C, D, F), leader grades last. Your average grade will give you a clear indication on what you need to work on to create a UNITY.
Unity was important to Jesus. In John 17: 23, he prayed, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” Our God is not a god of confusion or chaos, our organizations shouldn’t be either.
I love to walk teams through vision and strategy exercises in order to create unity and laser focus for their ministry teams and organizations. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to hear about this service.
Lack of Unity=Confusion=the allusion of why you do what you do.