Five Methods for Making Better Team Decisions

In a healthy collaborative environment, the role of individual team members becomes more about leading the discussion around a particular aspect of worship, such as music, rather than dictating what idea will become the final decision for worship.

Five Methods for Making Better Team Decisions
True consensus means losing personal agendas and agreeing that a concept is good for the gospel and good for your own unique congregation. Every aspect of worship can benefit from creative collaboration.
Five Methods for Making Better Team Decisions
True consensus means losing personal agendas and agreeing that a concept is good for the gospel and good for your own unique congregation. Every aspect of worship can benefit from creative collaboration.

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After extensive and heated debate, one of the team’s members reached over to the original document, pulled it from the wall and calmly began to read its contents. The solution to the disagreement became clear in light of the team’s stated and agreed-upon purpose.

All teams have either:
a) experienced conflict
b) are currently experiencing conflict or
c) will experience conflict.

There’s just no getting around it: Conflict is an inevitable part of working with other people. In fact, a group of individuals doesn’t really move toward becoming a team, until they’ve weathered their first conflict together.

If a statement is given proper attention when it’s written and is signed by every member with no reservations, it becomes a roadmap for dealing with any situation that may arise. Statements should be written over the course of several meetings. They should be as specific as possible. Each and every person on the team should be a part of writing the statement, and should be able to sign their name to it when completed.

A word of warning: conflict may arise even as a purpose statement is written. Use the conflict to help define even further what the goals of the team are.

4. Emphasize joint ownership over friendship

When teams successfully move from individual agendas to a single agenda, and discover the possibilities of consensus, many wonderful things happen. Brainstorming becomes less tense, camaraderie and mutual respect grow, and joint ownership over the process is felt.

Joint ownership makes each individual feel more like a part of a team. A general excitement begins to accompany the process when everyone feels like they’re a part of what is being achieved.

This doesn’t mean that everyone on the team is the closest of friends. As stated, personal styles and preferences may vary. It does mean that the team operates out of mutual respect and agreement that the decisions being made are the best ideas for worship in its own unique time and space.

5. Use “We” not “I” language

One important change to make is in the language used to describe the process. “We” becomes a very important word. Since the creative process is pretty messy, it’s often hard to remember who said what when. One might have spawned ideas that come from another. Keeping track of who thought of what is an egocentric minefield that is sure to destroy the team.


More About Len Wilson
Len Wilson has been championing creativity and more effective communication in church life since 1993. In service to this calling, he has worked on four church staffs, written ten books, consulted with dozens of churches, spoken at hundreds of events, founded two media micro-publishing firms, and acquired leadership books at a major publishing house. He is currently Creative Director at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas.
Get in Touch: len@lenwilson.us    More by Len Wilson

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