The greatest discovery in team history
After years, we've found the "i" in team
It’s hidden in the A hole.
There’s also a me in team, as many of us have heard and said. But I prefer this discovery better. It definitely makes a more salient point.
There’s a lot of great team building books and resources out there. Two of my favorites are The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni and The Wisdom of Teams by John Katzenbach and Douglas Smith.
Teams are hard to work on. Group projects are some of our worst memories of school. Team presentations always seem to have a weak link. Work teams are usually teams in name only.
At Elevate Life, we call ourselves the “great experiment.” One of our experiments is servant leadership. 90% or more of our ministry is not done by paid staff. It’s done by servant leader teams. We believe that servant leadership represents the Jesus style of leadership. Over 22 years, we’ve had a lot of misses and a few hits building teams.
There are some people who are true five-tool players. They could be a team all by themselves. These people often have the hardest time fitting into a team environment. They are many times the most gifted and skilled people. These people would typically be the best at discovering the “i” in team. In truth, at one time or another, we all find ourselves being the person who “is” the team. Where we have discovered the “i” for ourselves.
To go to the next level, all of us need a team around us that maximizes our strengths and covers our weaknesses. To do this, we need to forget about the “i.”
I love this video of Victor Wooten - one of the greatest bass players of all time - as an analog for being a bad (and good) team.
“I can play in the wrong key so well, I can make you sound wrong”
Some people are so talented and gifted that they can make the rest of the team seem wrong. We’ve all been around those people. Some of us have been those people. These are the kind of people that create dissonance where there could be resonance. They want everyone to play along with them, regardless of which instrument they are playing.
Everywhere you go that is worth going, will involve you interacting with people. Here is a fact about connecting with people: In every sphere you enter, where there are other people, you create Resonance or Dissonance. Be aware of your EQ (Emotional Quotient) that will cause people to say one of two things when they see you:
1) Oh no, here they come! or 2) Oh yes, I am so glad you are here!
// Keith Craft
In every team there is a leader. The leader decides the key we are going to be in. If you think the key should change, and it doesn’t change, that’s how you know you’re not the leader of that team. When the leader decides the key we should be in, we create resonance on our team when we play that key.
“who’s wrong right now?”
This is a question bad team players find themselves asking often. They are often in defense of the notes they are playing that are creating dissonance. They may feel that they are the better player, or that they should be the leader and decide the key or set the tempo. These people will look to rally people to their “side” of an issue to prove how right they are. They are more concerned with playing what they want than making the team sound good.
“reshape his groove to make it sound better”
In this video, Victor Wooten is obviously the more skilled musician. But he makes an interesting point. Because he’s so good, he can make someone else look better than they are. Great team players do such a great job of playing their role that they make the mediocre people on the team look great. When we choose to create resonance and not dissonance, we make other people sound better.
“the job of the rhythm section is not just to play with someone, but to make them sound better”
I recently asked our staff team what the difference between “teamwork” and “being a team” was. Katie, one of our staff had one of the best answers I’ve ever heard.
“Teamwork is something you do, a team player is something you are.” 🔥
Some people think that teamwork = being a team. Nothing could be further from the truth. Teamwork is “playing with someone.” Being a team is “making them sound better.” Great teams have great leaders, but they also have great team players who could probably be leaders in their own right. There can only be so many leaders, but the rhythm section has no cap.
“your job is to make other people sound better”
Our marriages are teams. Our friendships are teams. Teams are everywhere. It’s important to understand your gifts, talents and abilities. It’s even more important to understand how you can use them to highlight the gifts, talents and abilities of others.
If there’s one thing that great people on great teams do, they make the other members of the team sound better. They choose to become someone else’s rhythm section. Victor Wooten could take the lead in any scenario musically and people would follow, but he sees his job as making other people that play with him sound better.
What can you do to start making people sound better?