These days, many of our eyes are glued to ESPN as we watch NCAA March Madness unfold. For one, we’re all hoping to see our favorite teams advance so that we can have bragging rights and feel all of our loyalty come to fruition. But there is another side of watching these games that is deeply valuable- the stories behind each of them. No team simply appeared on our TVs with immense skill, perfect team communication, and the team dynamic that results in win after win- it took years of work, coaching, and personal growth for a team to get there.
So as we watch these teams advance, what lessons can we learn from them as we build our own teams? Here are a few things to consider when building your team into a winning one that meets its goals and wins again and again.
1. Consider the gaps in your team
Figuring out what your team is missing isn’t quite as simple as knowing a basketball team needs a new point guard. There isn’t one script or rulebook describing exactly what positions a church, ministry, or organization needs. That’s why you must take time regularly to sit down and take a good look at your team to discern what’s missing. Are there certain skills your team is lacking? Is there a specific personality that you could all benefit from the addition of? Is there an organizational role missing that would make everyone more efficient and less stressed? Before you can make your team the best it can be, you need to take time to discern what’s missing and go from there.
2. Hire for culture, then foster skill
For most positions, a skilled worker is not hard to come by, especially in today’s hiring market. But hiring someone whose skills fit your need without fitting culturally is a waste of time that will ultimately hurt all involved. At Vanderbloemen, we are advocates for mission-fit hiring, rather than simply hiring for skill. Find someone with a baseline skill set that can grow to fit your needs, but who ultimately understands your mission and fits culturally, and you are far more likely to succeed long-term.
3. Equip and Encourage
As you seek to grow the skills of your team members, directly provide them with opportunities for that growth. Whether you provide classes, read books together as a staff, or seek out new challenges to push them and yourself- ensure that you are consistently providing your staff with opportunities to grow their skills and stretch themselves. This will not only help your organization but will equip them in the long run in their careers. Additionally, take time to individually encourage them as they grow and learn, providing them with feedback that helps them know that they are valued for more than just their skills within your organization.
4. Make your mission crystal clear
Ultimately, your team must know exactly what they are here for. Over the past two years, many organizations have lost a clear mission direction as they’ve fought just to stay above water. Take time to sit down and discern how your mission may have changed in the past few years, and what that means for your organization. And then, make sure that that mission is very clearly communicated to your staff. If they are confused about what exactly the driving factor behind their day-to-day detailed work is, they will lose motivation when things get difficult.
And lastly, consider this: do you cheer for your own team as enthusiastically as you cheer for the basketball team that has your loyalty? Is it clear to your team that you root for them more than you root for the team on the TV? And do they know that you will be behind them whether they win or lose? Creating a culture of team members that know how they and their skills fit within your organization, know what they are fighting for, and know that they are supported by their leadership will be the ultimate determining factors in whether or not they succeed.