Commitment: The i in TEAM
Commitment; The i in TEAM
You may have heard the business fable on the bacon and the egg breakfast, but here it is anyway. In a bacon & egg breakfast, what is the difference between the chicken and the pig? The chicken is involved, while the pig is committed. The chicken gives the egg by birth, while the pig has to lay his life for you to receive the ham; the pig is committed to death. In this post, we’ll explore commitment as an individual in the tasks assigned to you as a member of a team.
When you think of teamwork, what words come to mind? When I think of teamwork, I often use words and phrases such as collaboration, cohesive work, togetherness, commitment, group, etc. A team is a group of committed individuals working together to achieve a common goal. Many teachings on teamwork emphasize the need to work together; scholars zero in on the word together. What we sometimes forget is that a team needs committed individuals in order to make it work. You cannot have a team without willing and committed individuals.
The bible tells us in Exodus 2:1-10 of how we react to duties given to us. In earlier chapters of the same book, we read of Pharaoh’s decree for Hebrew midwives to murder all male babies born by Hebrew women. We read of Moses’ birth and how his mother hid him for a while before putting him in a well-prepared arc, which she kept by the bank of a river. She also had a daughter who was commissioned to look after the baby (Moses). We read of the extent of her commitment to the duty given to her. What she did or did not do described her respect for the mother who gave her the job and also helped us understand the value she placed on the life of the little baby. What value do you place on your responsibilities in Church, at your job or in your home?
We then read of the daughter of Pharaoh who came to the river where the baby was placed; we read that Moses' sister was at her duty post. She was able to connect Pharaoh’s daughter to her mother, who was then assigned to raise Moses for the princess. Moses' sister is an example of someone who was committed to the task given to them as a member of a team.
Let us breakdown the definition of a team above into three parts.
A team is a group of committed individuals working together to achieve a common goal.
The first and most important part are the "committed Individuals." The second which builds upon the individuals is "Working Together". The third is the desire of individuals that are working together to "Achieve a Common Goal." Ultimately a team has a goal in mind to accomplish; but you cannot reach that goal without committed individuals working together.
Let's look at this backwards and start with the third part, "achieving a common goal."
Take for instance the Republican Party in America today. Their goal in 2016 was to put a formidable candidate into the White House in less that 2 weeks from now. That goal is an outcome goal, meaning the eventual and ultimate thing desired. Prior to that, the Republican Party needed to achieve a few smaller goals (or objectives). The party needed to successfully nominate a candidate and a vice presidential candidate who could respectfully and considerably beat the Democratic Presidential candidate; which they did. In order for the nomination to occur, individuals interested in becoming POTUS (President of the United States) needed to sell their plan to caucus voting members of the party; in essence, they needed to make an impact. This is an impact goal. But before an impact can be made, the Republican party needed to (1) get voters registered (2) encourage debate and (3) sponsor a few programs to bring voters and candidates together; this is a process goal. A goal is always needed for committed individuals to work together. It seems the GOP had committed individuals working together to achieve their common goal after-all.
The second part of defining a Team is the importance of "Working together". What does the Bible say about working together?
Psalm 133:1 says it is good and pleasant when God’s people live together in peace!
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says "Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break."
Proverbs 27:17 says "As one piece of iron sharpens another, so friends keep each other sharp."
1 Corinthians 12:20-25 tells us of the unity and diversity in the church; this is an illustration of the individuality yet unity in teamwork.
For a team to work together certain building blocks must also be in place. In the Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, the author mentions an absence of trust as the first dysfunction of a team, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results as the other dysfunctions of a team. In the story we read, Moses’ mother trusted her daughter to watch over Moses. She was probably not afraid to hold her accountable. We know the daughter was committed in this case, we didn't have to assess accountability since everything went well, and the result was what we wanted. This sounds like a good team.
In chemistry, you must have a reaction in order to deliver a product, but your desired product can only be seen when the elements you've brought together work hand-in-hand. There has to be a connection, a linkage, a bridge. For example, water (H2O) is formed when 2 Hydrogen ions react with an Oxygen atom in a cohesive reaction; these elements come together. For a team to exist, there must be chemistry, they must work together.
All of the illustrations stated above can only occur when you have competent, willing, capable and emotionally stable building blocks. If the Republican Party did not have enough individuals who understood the importance of teamwork, understood the importance of the eventual goal, and understood the repercussion of not working together, they wouldn't have been victorious in the 2016 fall election. But of greater importance is the characteristics of the elements involved in a chemical reaction. If the elements lack character and lack the desired individual attributes needed to work together as a team, there will be no reaction, therefore, no product.
The individuals that work together to achieve a common goal are the building blocks of a team; they are the I in a team. Therefore, you must be committed to the work you are called to do for this group effort to be met. You cannot have chemistry without elements, you cannot have an election without voters, you cannot have a team without committed individuals.
Here's a question to ponder, what kind of individual are you? Are you committed to the work before you? Are you combative, difficult to work with and always opposing progress? Do you have too many ions on your outer orbit that makes you unable to latch on to the oncoming compound which has already begun working toward her goal? Do you see the cup half-empty more often than you see it half-full? Are you reluctant to work with others, a complainer or perfectionist that blames everyone else for what has gone wrong in a group effort? Check yourself before you find fault in other places. You have the power to break or make a team, choose wisely. Be committed to the work before you. Be committed to the work of God.