Teamwork 01One of the greatest sins a “leader” can commit is to work alone.  Good leadership equips, empowers, trusts, and releases.  The best way to do this is through teams, and this is a good definition of team.  “A team is a group organized to work together to accomplish a set of objectives that cannot be achieved effectively by individuals.” 

Teamwork is the wisest means by which to contribute to an organization.  An organization that does not use teams is limited by the capabilities of its weakest or most fearful leader. 

Weak leaders function like log jams that slow everyone else down or even prevent forward motion.  Fears, vested interests, ego, or prejudices can hamper the health and effectiveness of an organization.

That’s why teams are important.  In teams, everyone has a vital role to play, everyone is empowered to contribute, and every opinion is important in the formation of direction.  Teams also require humility to function correctly.  A “leader” with huge ego issues will not be able to function in a team setting; it will be too threatening.

The same article about teams, quoted above, has a set of guidelines for team membership.  The whole list is not printed here, but note the emphasis on individual contribution in the items listed.

  • Contribute ideas and solutions
  • Recognize and respect differences in others
  • Value the ideas and contributions of others
  • Listen and share information
  • Be flexible and respect the partnership created by a team — strive for the “win-win”

Autocratic and egotistic leaders are only able to reach to their personal limits.  In team work, individual commitment usually transcends the team. A team outperforms an individual and all reasonable expectations given to its individual members. That is, a team has a synergistic effect…one plus one equals a lot more than two.

Jesus understood the importance of “team” and its ability to transform individuals.  He took 12 men who, individually, could never have accomplished what they did as a team in a few short years.  During his three years with them, he empowered them, allowed them to fail, and when needed, supplied specific teaching.

Teamwork is vital to healthy organizations, business or religious.  An individual that tries to “lead” by himself is a danger to progress and growth, because he will function like a governor on a motor and slow the organization to his own limitations.

Never Eat Alone

NeverEatAloneI just finished Keith Ferrazzi’s excellent book, Never Eat Alone.  I found out about the book from several references to it on LinkedIn’s excellent business networking site.  Still, you never know what you’re going to find when you buy a book based on others’ recommendations.

Almost from the first page of the book I was hooked.  I knew that Ferrazzi had a different take on things than most business success types.  He knows that no one is “self-made” in the strictest sense of the word.  We’re all in this together, and people who are generous to others are the most successful in their pursuits.  Here are a few quotes from Ferrazzi.  

  • Poverty, I realized, wasn’t only a lack of financial resources; it was isolation from the kind of people that could help you make more of yourself, page 5.
  • I learned that ‘real’ networking was about finding ways to make ‘other people more successful, page 9.
  • “So you want the inside scoop,” I respond.  “Fair enough.  I’ll sum up the key to success in one word:  generosity,” page 14.
  • Autonomy is a life vest made out of sand, page 17.
  • In other words, the currency of real networking is not greed but generosity, page 21.
  • I would argue that your relationships with others are your finest, most credible expression of who you are and what you have to offer, page 22.

I think the book has indispensable information for anyone that is wanting to connect with the world around.  I find it to be especially relevant in a church planting context and would immediately recommend it as a “must read” book.  Ferrazzi also has a blog which is fun to read.  Enjoy.

Ignorance is not a good thing!

Henry Ford 02“The only thing worse than training your people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.”  Henry Ford.


 Organizations that do not train their people are poured in ideological and methodological concrete.  In some respects they are like a university that never allows research or thought that is dated after a particular time.  This effectively freezes all learning, and the university (or organization) gets no benefits from new discovery.

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To the Next Level

Chamber LogoYesterday Jennifer Krumm, COO of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce, and I went to an all-day seminar at the California Chamber of Commerce.  The seminar was entitled “Taking Your Chamber to the Next Level,” and it was sponsored by Superchex, a Chamber group that provides training for local Chambers to help them offer better programs and leadership to their respective communities.

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“I’m never to busy for your referrals.”

PeopleI really admire my friend Russ.  He is one of the kindest and most attentive people I know.

It’s not unusual to find a message on my cell phone.  “Hi Bruce, this is Russ.  I was just calling to say hello and see how you’re doing.”  It takes him about a minute to do that, but it really makes my day to get the voice mail.

Recently Russ and I were talking about what it takes to make organizations hum.  Again, he knows what people need in order to be encouraged and empowered.

I would summarize what he said in this way.  1) Take time to talk to people.  Not e-mail.  Talk.  2) Make sure that you don’t take people for granted.  Let them know that they are important to you and bring value to your life.

I think that is good advice for any group of people.

Marketing Non Profits

On Thursday I was dreading the thought of giving up my Saturday. I treasure sleeping in, a slow breakfast, and being lazy for one day. But Jeff from Radio Merced gave me a free ticket to the “Nonprofit Management and Marketing” seminar at Merced College.

So the alarm went off at 6:00 AM, and after hitting the snooze a couple of times I reluctantly got up. I can now tell you that it was well worth the effort. It also reminded me of the wonderful resources that are often laying on the ground around us for little or no cost. That was true today. Continue reading →


Whenever I have talked with church planters, a common warning comes from them. It’s always something like “Don’t surrender your vision to anyone.”

Many planters warn that disgruntled and baggaged people seek out new churches and attempt to shape them into their own vision. That vision can take the form of a particular kind of music, a church model, or even the kind of people sought after. Continue reading →