Teams are the fuel that the world-engine runs on. In each sphere of culture (business, education, entertainment, media, family, religion, and government) individuals may be the face of an organization, but behind that face are teams. In the marketplace there are infinite kinds of teams: sales teams, committees, boards, departments, task-force teams, strategy teams, training teams, virtual teams, and the list goes on… As we consider the pursuit of excellence (this month’s theme), what better application for excellence than teams. Afterall, in the beginning, Genesis reminds us that, “ It is not good for the man to live alone.” Yet, in the Kingdom, no matter what the function, believers are called to be on one kind of team: The Excellent Team.
Last week I was telling my husband that outside of a few tennis lessons, I’ve only ever played team sports (softball, volleyball, and soccer). The excellence of the sports teams I was part of was measured by performance driven statistics such as wins vs. losses. I’ve also been part of professional teams (Board of Advisors, Culture Development task-force, hiring committees, etc.). The excellence of those teams was measured by profit margins, survey results, and completed objectives. There is one more category of teams I will refer to as life-teams (for example, GriefShare, community volunteering, or bible study groups). The excellence of these teams are measured by less quantitative metrics such as emotional healing, relational impact, or character development. In the scope of each kind of team, excellence (or execution) became the ultimate goal. In the Kingdom, excellence is not just a goal or characteristic, it is an identity.
When thinking about excellence as the driving goal of a team, this popular quote comes to mind:
Teamwork makes the dream work. -John C. Maxwell
There are countless examples that show when people work together, dreams come to life. Some of mankind’s greatest accomplishments include the building of the pyramids, travelling to the moon, and mapping the human genome. These dreams came to life when teams of architects, laborers, astronomers, or scientists worked together. Yet, while the wonders stand, the teams that built the pyramids died long ago. Likewise, teams that put man on the moon are passing away and the teams that mapped the human genome will pass away. How then does the excellence of teams live beyond its members or reaching a goal?
Excellence can be a characteristic of just about anything…people, food, places, books, art… For teams, the characteristic of excellence is most aptly found relationally. Consider this well known quote:
All for one and one for all, united we stand divided we fall.
-Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers
Or, think about it this way:
To me, teamwork is the beauty of our sport, where you have five acting as one. You become selfless. -Mike Krzyzewski, Coach, USA Men’s Basketball
These ideas center around unity and interdependence which become characteristics of The Excellent Team. Yet, in and of themselves, characteristics of excellence or excellent characteristics aren’t the whole picture.
The only example of excellent identity is Christ and the only example of The Excellent Team is Yahweh (God the Father), Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus), and Ruach Hakodesh (the Holy Spirit). The goals, characteristics, and identity of the Trinity are always and undeniably excellent. As believers, this excellent identity is within us. As such, it testifies to the true nature of The Excellent Team we were made for.
The testimony of the Excellence found in the Godhead is indivisible, perfected, eternal Love. In other words, when we come together in any team under the banner of excellence…
We have access to complete unity…
For by one Spirit we all were immersed and mingled into one single body.
-1 Corinthians 12:13
We are designed for flawlessness…
And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. -James 1:4
We were meant to live forever…
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
– Revelation 21:6
And, we were made for Love…
For his “body” has been formed in his image and is closely joined together and constantly connected as one. And every member has been given divine gifts to contribute to the growth of all; and as these gifts operate effectively throughout the whole body, we are built up and made perfect in love. -Ephesians 4:16
We have the opportunity to embody the identity of the The Excellent Team by carrying on the characteristics of the Trinity. If teams in our home, work, or church are not acting in unity, becoming perfected, keeping an eternal mindset, and/or turning into Love, then our pursuit of excellence can be enhanced.
Take inventory today of the teams you are a part of or the teams you oversee. Are team members working together in harmony? Are they aligned by a common vision? Are they inspired to continually improve through refinement and innovation? Are they thinking long-term? Are they giving and receiving love? If not, start to strategize on how to instill the identity of The Excellent Team in your business or ministry. I have no doubt that in that pursuit of excellence, God will presently respond!