Teamwork

Youth self-esteem and team building exercise: Each person should take a piece of paper and write their own name on the top. Pass them around the group. Under the person’s name write down one positive, Christ-like quality you have seen in that person. Move the sheets around the group again, and repeat. When everyone has written one thing on every sheet, return them to the original names – and be encouraged by what you discover about yourselves!

Source: Stephen Gaukroger, First Steps: The handbook to following Christ, p.56

We are one body with many parts. We need each other. Richard Blackaby shares the following illustration to make the point: Suppose the eye could say to the body, “Let’s walk down these train tracks. The way is clear. Not a train in sight.” So the body starts down the tracks. Then the ear says, “I hear a whistle coming from behind us.” The eye argues, “But there’s nothing on the track as far as I can see. Let’s keep on walking.” Supposing the body listens only to the eye and keeps on walking. Soon the ear says, “That whistle is getting louder and closer!” Then the feet say, “I feel the vibrations of a train coming. We’d better get our body off these tracks!” Now, if the body is going to function as God intended it to what needs to happen? If this were your body, what would you do?

  • Would you try to ignore the conflict between the body parts and hope it just goes away?
  • Would you take a vote of all your body members, and let the majority rule?
  • Would you trust your eyes and keep on walking because sight is an extremely important gift/sense?

No! You’d get off the train tracks. God gave our bodies many different senses and parts. When each part does its job, and when each part pays proper attention and respect to the others, then the whole body works the way it should. Similarly, the church functions best when all of its members are involved using their gifts.

Source: Richard Blackaby, Experiencing God, 2008 edition, Nashville Tennessee: B&H Publishing, p.201

The church is not just a place to attend it’s a community, a body, to get involved with. Sometimes people shy away from getting involved… they think of church being like a giant helicopter. They don’t want to get too close in case the get sucked into the rotas! But it shouldn’t be like that. Many hands (or many parts) make light work. Going on a rota once a month or once every two months is an expression of love and commitment to the body (a body which we all know isn’t perfect)! There is no perfect church this side of heaven… we are all flawed, imperfect and broken, which is why we need each other. Don’t be a spectator. You are needed. Get involved. Where is there a team can you serve on, where is there a need you can fill?

Tips for effective team building:

  1. Develop a mission statement/company creed that staff members can associate with and feel a part of.
  2. Use appraisal forms on existing management and work practices. Let employees know that their opinion counts.
  3. Promote employee suggestions for improving the work place, cutting costs or increasing profits etc.
  4. Have regular brain storming sessions and team meetings. Involve staff members; make them feel wanted, needed, appreciated.
  5. Have regular team (as well as individual) competitions, with incentives and rewards. Post the current scores and final results for all to see.
  6. Find the leaders and encourage them to promote team effort. (Tip to find the leader in a group of people: Ask a question and see who everyone turns to for approval.) Give shared responsibility for certain team building tasks.
  7. Socialise in groups. Let your hair down and get to know your people.
  8. Develop a spirit of openness. (One manager took his door off its hinges.) Cultivate an atmosphere of ‘no secrets’ and no gossip.

Building a winning team: At one time Andrew Carnegie was the wealthiest man in America. He came to America from his native Scotland when he was a small boy, did a variety of jobs, and eventually ended up as the largest steel manufacturer in the United States. At one time he had forty-three millionaires working for him. In those days, a millionaire was a rare person; conservatively speaking, a million dollars in his day would be equivalent to at least twenty million dollars today.

A reported then asked how he had developed these men to become so valuable to him that he would pay them so much money. Carnegie replied that the men developed the same way gold is mined. When gold is mined, several tons of dirt must be moved to get an ounce of gold, but one doesn’t go into the mine looking for dirt. One goes in looking for gold. – Look for gold in your people.

John Maxwell

John C. Maxwell, 1993, Developing The Leader Within You, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing, p.130

‘TEAMWORK’

When you see geese flying along in ‘V’ formation, you might consider what science has discovered as to why they fly that way. As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an up-lift for the bird immediately following. By flying in ‘V’ formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. (Similarly, people who share a common direction and sense of purpose can get where they are going more quickly and easily, because they are travelling on the thrust of one another.)

When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone – and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird in front. (If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those people who are headed in the same direction that we are; we will also be willing to accept their help and give of ourselves to others.)

When the head goose gets tired, it goes to the back of the ‘V’ and another goose flies point. (It is sensible to take turns doing demanding jobs, whether you’re a person or a goose flying south.)

Geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. (We need to make sure that when we honk from behind it is offer encouragement and not something else!)

Finally – and this is important – when a goose gets sick or wounded, or shot down, other geese fall out of formation and follow it down to offer support and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, and only then do they launch out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group. (If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other like that.)

“TEAMWORK” Attributed to T. J. Watson (adapted)

An American veteran who was part of the D-Day invasion described meeting Churchill prior to the launch of that bloody offensive against the forces of the Nazi’s. He said D-Day was the most frightening experience of his life. “In fact,” he said, “I don’t think some of us would have been able to do what we did if it weren’t for a visit we got just before we crossed the English Channel.” That visit was from Winston Churchill. He rode up in a jeep, got out, and mingled with the troops. “He shook hands with us and even hugged some of us,” the veteran recalled. “He spoke of his own wartime experience and identified with our emotions. Then, he stood up in his jeep and gave a five minute speech. He spoke the whole time with tears in his eyes.” Here’s what Churchill said: “Gentlemen, I know you are afraid. I remember being afraid when I was a soldier. I had the privilege of defending my country… through dark days when we didn’t know whether we would accomplish what we had been given to do. But this is your moment. We are counting on you to rise to the occasion and achieve everything you have set out to do. The fate on the free world rests on your shoulders. May this be your finest hour.” The veteran said, ‘Needless to say, our group of frightened soldiers turned into a band of men who were ready to take on anybody.’

Source: The UCB Word For Today , 6/3/2014

The Giant Sequoia – the big redwood tree – is the largest tree in the world and one of the oldest trees in the forest. It may live for 3000 years and grow to a height of more than 75 metres (250 feet) with a trunk diameter at the base of around 8 metres (25 feet). It is commonly thought that a tree of such magnitude must have a root system stretching hundreds of feet down into the earth but, in actual fact, the ‘redwood’ has a relatively shallow root system.

The sequoia or ‘redwood’ trees grow in close proximity to each other and although the individual root systems are rather shallow, the roots of each tree entwine and lock together for support and stability. When the storms come – some of them ferocious – the trees stand fast: They support and protect each other because they are rooted together. What a great definition of teamwork.

Adapted from a story told by Robert J. Morgan, church pastor, seminar leader and author

Teamwork makes the dream work… because teamwork divides the effort and multiplies the effect.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9, God tells us, “Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together” (NCV). “When you work as a team, you get so much more done. Plus, having good teammates alongside you is a whole lot more fun and less tiring! Picture it this way: Each of us is like a snowflake. On our own, we can’t make a big difference. However, when one fragile snowflake sticks with a lot of other snowflakes, they can stop traffic. Like snowflakes, we can make a big difference if we work together, each one of us simply doing our small part.”

Rick Warren

Rick Warren, Daily Hope devotional, 15/3/2018

A great illustration of teamwork is found in the life of Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa born in Nepal. He tells how he and Edmund Hillary accomplished what no other human beings ever had: conquering Mount Everest. Tenzing says, ‘For each level we reached, a higher degree of teamwork was required. One group would exhaust themselves just getting the equipment up the mountain for the next group. Two man teams would work finding a path, cutting steps, securing ropes, spending themselves to make the next leg of the climb possible for others. You don’t climb a mountain like Everest by trying to race ahead on your own or by competing with your comrades. No, you do it slowly and carefully, by unselfish teamwork. Certainly I wanted to reach the top myself; it was the thing I’d dreamed all my life. But if the lot fell to someone else I would take it like a man, not a cry-baby. Where would Hillary and I have been without the others? Without the climbers who made the route? The Sherpas who carried the loads? Those who cleared the path ahead? It was only through the work and sacrifice of them all that we had our chance at the top.’

Source: The UCB Word For Today , 13/8/2010