Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sticky Teams: Review & Highlights

I've blogged a good bit about Larry Osborne's excellent book Sticky Teams... but now, thanks to the Shameless Commerce/Conference Promotion/Win Mark & NewLife Something Free Division of this blog, I'm going to pull those threads together so you can see 'em all in one place.

First, my Goodreads review of Sticky Teams:
Fantastic book on recruiting, training & leading church leadership teams - both boards & staff. The author assumes you've already done your Biblical homework & instead focuses on practical wisdom on dealing with team leadership.

I especially liked the "sitting around, talking with a mentor/friend" tone - the honesty, the humor & the insight make for a readable, helpful & indepth look into the subject.
Then, some highlights from a series of posts I did late last year on selected quotes from Sticky Teams:

Chapter One:
  • me: I bought my copy of the book at the conference & promptly devoured it - it's chockful of amazing insight into church leadership, staff dynamics & following God as a pastor. Usually I'm the guy who reads a book once & then puts it on the shelf for reference... but I'm in the process less than 2 months later of reading through it again, which ought to tell you something about the impact it's having on me.
  • larry: Most church fights aren't over theology or even ministry goals; they're over priorities & methodology.
Chapter Two:
  • larry: Our rotating board did more harm than good. Imagine a corporation that changed one-third of its leaders every ten to fifteen meetings... When, by definition, thirty-three percent of the board lacked a corporate memory, it was hard to build on past decisions.
Chapter Three:
  • larry: The most common breakdown I see in terms of relational fit happens when we allow superior Bible knowledge or spiritual zeal to trump an obvious & serious lack of social skills or a bristly personality.
Chapter Four:
  • mark: I can not recommend Larry's explication of team dynamics/growth using the sports team metaphor highly enough... nor can I condense it down to a few pithy quotes. I won't even try.
  • larry: I knew that despite all the "sin words" that both sides had thrown around ("arrogant," "self-willed," "unaccountable," "not a team player," "boundary queen," and "inflexible," to name a few), the real issue was not sin so much as deep hurt & discomfort that came with our changing organizational dynamics.
Chapter Five:
  • mark: Nothing say "rewritten leadership talk" like the title "Six Things Every Leadership Team Needs To Know"... but when the quality level is this high, who cares?
  1. Ignore your weaknesses.
  2. Surveys are a waste of time.
  3. Seek permission, not buy-in.
  4. Let squeaky wheels squeak.
  5. Let dying programs die.
  6. Plan in pencil.
  • larry: Most squeaky wheels keep right on squeaking, for one simple reason: they don't squeak for a lack of oil; they squeak because it's their nature to squeak.
  • larry: Church harmony is inversely related to the amount of time spent oiling squeaky wheels.
Chapter Six:
  • larry: If I hadn't previously submitted to their decisions that I didn't agree with, there's no way they would have listened to me when I played the "God told me" card. It would have been seen as just another creative ploy to get my own way.
Chapter Seven:
  • larry: I've found that "You don't listen" often means "You didn't do what I suggested."
Chapter Eight:
  • larry: Like most leaders, I love the idea of servant leadership & putting others first, as long as no one actually cuts in front of me or starts treating me like I'm a servant.
Which reminds me... I need to finish blogging my way through the book. (He says, grinning sheepishly.)

The motivation behind this (as I mentioned earlier) is an opportunity to blog & win a free ticket to the Sticky Teams conference... which I attended & thoroughly enjoyed last year. (I was impressed with the practicality of the advice, the willingness to show their rough edges & the excellence with which they pulled off the conference. NewLife is using the Church Unique vision process that I was first taught at Sticky Teams in a great pre-conference session w/Will Mancini.)

So, a to-do list for my ministry-type readers:
  1. read the book - seriously, I don't know of a better book on church leadership structures.
  2. consider attending the conference... it's well worth your time (and it's near San Diego, for crying out loud)
  3. keep reading my blog - I might say something interesting

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