Teams

Individual Talent is Overrated in the Team Building Process

Individual Talent is Overrated in the Team Building Process

With 6:45 left in the fourth quarter of the Eastern Conference Finals, Celtics forward Jayson Tatum caught the ball at the top of arc. He took four steps, as the Celtics were down 71-67 to the Cavaliers, and rose up and dunked over LeBron James.

The TD Garden went nuts — as well as my living room 1,614 miles away. Moments after this iconic moment, Tatum bumped LeBron with his chest … and it was on. Every Celtics fans could sense that this Game 7 would end with a celebration in Boston.

But, in typical LeBron fashion he ended the game scoring 35 points and the Cavs beat the Celtics 87-79. The next day however provided a silver lining for Celtics fans.

The Celtics were a few minutes away from playing in the NBA Finals. They accomplished this without their two best players — Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward — who had season ending injuries. Many believed the Celtics could win an NBA Championship the next year.

The same Celtics team came back for the 2018-2019 season paired with the addition of a healthy Irving and Hayward. Expectations were high! So high that in my years of being a Celtics fan this hype was second only to the 2007-2008 season that ended in Banner 17.

Yet, things shifted ever so quickly. Twenty games into the 2018-2019 season the Celtics were 10-10. They played like they hated each other. They had no chemistry. They had no heart. The most disappointing Celtics season in my lifetime ended with an early playoff exit.

On paper, this team was as talented as any team in the league. They were the most talented Celtics team since 2007-2008, but their talent alone could not carry them. They had a team of 15 individuals who were great basketball players, but as a team they struggled to function correctly with one another.

Ultimately, a team comprised of talented individuals failed as a team.

In organizations we lead or are a part of, the same can be true. There’s a desire to collect the most talented or most experienced individuals.

Within the Local Church, this may look like we’re trying to find the best singer to be the Worship Pastor. We look for the best communicator to be the Pastor. We look for the most personable or charismatic person to lead students or kids.

While talent and experience are desired traits in building personnel for a team — they should not be our main identifiers (especially within the Church). In building a team there are three qualities each individual must have within their DNA.

Sign Me Up to Drive the Golf Cart

Sign Me Up to Drive the Golf Cart

“Let’s activate what God’s called us do!”

As our pastor championed this statement, he stepped over to a large display of the words “ACTIVATE” and flipped a switch. In a moment, the words lit up – radiating the entire auditorium. The hype in the building was elevated.

It felt like the moment a head coach stirs up his team before the Super Bowl. After his words, thousands of people were eager to partner together in unity and make the greatest team possible.

Kayla and I were in that crowd. We were ready to join a team and start serving in the church – after all, teamwork makes the dream work … right?

We quickly walked to the lobby to select a team to join and after talking to one of their team members, we made our way to the car. We were both excited – almost giddy – to be joining a team. While walking back, we asked each other what teams the other selected.

“I picked the parking team because I want to drive the golf cart in the parking lot.”

“I joined the hospitality team so I can talk to new guests!”

Getting in my car, an awkward pause soon ensued. We looked at each and both agreed that those weren’t the two teams we were supposed to join. I progressed with a sigh because I knew what God was doing next.

“On the count of three,” I said, “Let’s blurt out the team we both think God wants us to join.” We did this count off – and still do to this day – to avoid bias. If God is talking to us individually, we rationed in our mind that the 1-2-3 game is the correct way to make sure we don’t influence the other person.

1 … 2 … 3 … K I D S!

Before the S rattled off our tongue, I yelled, “NOOOO!” (I may have been inspired by Michael Scott). To condense a long story, we joined the kids team because we felt that’s where God wanted us to be.

The big picture was evident. Jesus was taking us on a process to be more like Him.

Months prior to this moment we were wondering if God is even around on Monday – we loved God on Sunday, but didn’t’ care to know Him any other day of the week. But, in typical God fashion, He showed Himself in my ’96 Saturn Sedan to shift our perspective.

He challenged us to pursue Him more. It worked! As we loved Him more and spent time with Him on a deeper level, simply attending church was the bare minimum. It was now time to do what Jesus did the best – serve others around us.

So, what made us move from attending church to serving others? It may have taken us a while, but we understood that while change can be uncomfortable, it is essential for us to keep moving in our faith journey.