“I am praying for them… that they may be one.” – Jesus
Unity is the most foundational element to the long-term success of any team. From the disciples in the early church to the staff at your church today, teams that lack unity will lack longevity. There’s no way around that fact.
This past week, I had the joy of attending my first annual meeting with The Malphurs Group. This was a particularly different year for TMG as three of us have officially joined the group in the last year. Note: any time you add or subtract team members, the dynamics fundamentally shift. As a result, whenever you onboard new staff, it’s critical to return to the fundamentals of the organization so everyone is on the same page.
This is exactly what we did last week.
For all of the old hats, our journey through the mission and vision of TMG was a healthy refresher. For those of us who were new, it brought a wave of enthusiasm as we “caught” the vision for what we aim to do for churches and leaders. This isn’t the primary point of this article, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you this: the entire team at The Malphurs Group, from top to bottom, is not only talented but fully committed to our mission of equipping churches to break through barriers, and maximize their impact for Christ. I’m not saying this because I’m on the team; I simply couldn’t recommend more highly a consultant group. Having now spent the time to get to know each of the consultants’ and staffs’ hearts and passions, you should know that TMG’s focus is on you: our partner churches and leaders. If you choose to work with us, you can be certain that the experience will be transformative.
One of the other things that jumped out to me this weekend is just how quickly the team was able to achieve unity, even though several us had never even met (in person) before the annual meeting.
What’s the shortcut to build team unity?
Do work together.
It sounds a little silly, I know. But you’d be surprised. Most people assume that the quickest way to build unity is to do “something fun” together. Or do a “team building ropes course.” Nope. The shortcut to build team unity is the process of doing actual work, together.
Here’s how to do it:
Set a goal.
Define a project or task that you’d like to accomplish. This could be planning an event, re-organizing a closet, mapping out the worship calendar, or strategic plan development. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what the goal is. What matters is that you decide on something to get done.
Limit the time.
If your team can put off a task, they will. “We’ll finish it later,” or “We’ll circle back to that,” are sentences you need to shut down. I loved how this past week there were multiple times where we all said as a team, “Now’s the time. We’re making this decision today.” This kind of commitment to a timeline forces decision-making and builds unity.
Create healthy conflict.
When your team is forced (by time) to make a decision, people begin to feel the pressure to speak their minds. If they want to contribute their two cents, they have to say something in the moment. This is a good thing. This gets all of the good ideas on the table, and refines good ideas into great plans. Healthy, non-contentious conflict is a unity multiplier.
Celebrate the progress.
While you work together, focus on the good. Celebrate the results of your work. Encourage one another. When someone has a great idea, tell them it’s great. Show appreciation for your team all along the way, and it will pay dividends in building trust and unity.
I’m thankful for the unity that was built on my team with TMG this past week. I have immense respect for our CEO & President, Ron Donnini and our Founder, Aubrey Malphurs, for putting together such a productive and unifying annual meeting. I know that as a direct result of the hard work we put into mission and strategy, we are going to help dozens (or more) of churches this year to break through barriers and maximize their impact for Christ.
But what about you?
Is your team filled with disunity or discord? Is there a lack of trust?
I’d love to help your team grow in unity and purpose. In fact, I have developed a two-day workshop that is targeted at helping teams like yours to build and grow in unity. The best part? It incorporates all of the tips that are mentioned in this post. At the end of the workshop, your team walks away with an actionable plan to reach performance goals within the next twelve months. Even better, it costs less than taking a staff of five to a major leadership conference, it’s customized to your church’s team, and it will pay you immediate leadership dividends: a worthwhile investment.