As we head into baseball season it seems like a good time to talk about teams. If you have ever had the fortune of being a member of a great team, you appreciate their value. I can assure you I have not been on a good sports team (having me on it would ruin it!) but I can see how the magic is similar to a good working team of any sort.
I use the word “team” instead of “committee” because it feels more action oriented. And I think a team comes together to take action. Every time a team gathers they should know what action is required of them. The Phillies go on the field to win a game. Your team gathers around a table to solve a problem, make a decision or create something new.
A team gets its power from its members – but its strength is greater than the sum of its parts. It is the working together that produces the results. I am fond of the Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” That really says a lot about the power of sharing ideas and working to make something happen.
I advocate for teams with varied members – people with different perspectives. If you are discussing a new program the conversation will be richer and more productive if you have representatives of every constituency present. In addition to the staff person who will manage the program, you would include a volunteer, a client who might be a recipient of the service, a donor or a board member. You decide who is appropriate but you make an effort to include all appropriate constituencies. Diversity and variety are important elements in the creative process, when everyone comes from the same view and same experience the results won’t be nearly as interesting.
Speaking of perspectives, if the program is for youth, include a youthful perspective. If it’s for the elderly, be sure they are represented. The same goes for income levels, education, residency…
In your leadership role, you will form teams regularly – some will work together for a year while others will solve a problem and disband. Your organization will become more fluid and adaptable when you learn to quickly form teams. You’ll get an added bonus by including more and more people on your teams. Each team member will have a new, higher level of commitment to the organization and its work. And that’s where Non Profit Growth begins.