Core Clarity Part 2 - A Case Study
In Core Clarity Part 1 (posted 9/23/10), we laid down the foundation for the importance of assessing talent mix within your team. Let me introduce you to a recent engagement.
A growing church reached a new plateau. What had been working six months earlier now was a struggle.
Two years prior the church experienced a difficult transition. The new pastor came in and quickly stabilized the church and with the existing leadership team crafted a new vision for the future.
The church had grown 33% and it was continuing its momentum. They had outgrown their existing facility and the new number of programs reached a level of complexity that began taxing the current leadership’s ability to manage.
The senior pastor began to see that coordination of services, follow through and communications were suffering. Renewed emphasis to try harder with the leadership team did not resolve the rising problems. Rising tension within the staff and concern from the senior pastor surfaced to question if the right team was on the bus.
First, a talent mix assessment was completed. This involved determining the top five strengths of each team member then looking at the team’s talents as a whole. We conducted a one day workshop for the leadership team to review the findings. The results revealed that each of the leaders had strong talents for their area of focus; worship, care ministry, youth, curriculum, etc. Noticeably absent, however, were the functions of implementation or executive leadership talents.
This answered the one big question the senior pastor had. “Do I have the right people?” The answer was yes, and no.
The yes was easy. The leaders were gifted and energized when functioning in their past focused areas of ministry. However, the growth had created a new complex set of demands.
The original path the senior pastor thought he would need to take were tighter requirements, more explicit demands for coordination, reports and increased pressure for accountability. This would force the issue of who would remain on the bus. Without additional evidence for insight this is a very typical path. By increasing the “heat” some would rise in performance but others would get weeded out. Whatever can be said about the effectiveness this approach offers for getting non-performers off the bus, the long-term wound to the team and the organization would create long-term negative consequences. It would tear down the relational culture for a performance culture and encourage behavior that figures out how to look productive.
However, there was an alternative path to explore that the reports provided. The first insight was recognizing the unique strengths this team had. They were deep in talents for their specialized ministries. Only one had talents that could be classified as administrative or implementation oriented. The choice for the senior pastor was to attempt to fix this teams weaknesses or to add a team member who was deep executive or general management talents who could connect the dots for the team and put in place support measure to deal with the coordination and follow through issues.
The pastor found an individual perfectly suited for the role. Several positive things came out of this effort. The existing leadership no longer felt like they were failing and better understood how to leverage their talents. The new person pulled implementation components together and brought the team’s performance to a new level of excellence. The pastor has called several times expressing appreciation for how the process helped him to see and value the talents of his team - but also find a player to add to the team that changed the whole dynamic from stress to enthusiasm.
The bigger lesson we have learned from working with numerous teams that hit a wall is that the problem is seldom the performance of the current team as individuals but often the need for a player who adds some missing talents that when combined with the others creates a new level of synergy, harmony and performance excellence.
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