Tag Archive - individual

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Why Teams don’t Play up to their Potential

This past weekend my wife and I went to Arkansas to see the Florida Gators play the Razorbacks. That makes 4 SEC stadiums and counting now (it’s a bucket list thing). The Gators were favored by more than a field goal. They had the talent to win. They had the defense to win. They should have won. But they didn’t. Instead, they lost 31-10. I’m not bitter about it though…but I do need to confess that it usually takes me a couple of days to get over a loss. Especially one like this.

We had a great experience going to the game. It was a great game day atmosphere, we were there with some good friends, we had good seats, ate good food, and the Arkansas fans were more than hospitable. The outcome was just disappointing. It was like the Gators were trying to phone this one in. They didn’t look like themselves. It’s like they didn’t even get off the bus! I don’t mind losing if they leave it all on the field but they just didn’t play up to their potential.

Ever been a part of a team like that? A team that doesn’t play up to their potential? It happens for all kinds of reasons:

Poor Preparation

Sometimes teams just aren’t prepared to play the game. They haven’t had enough practice and game-like repetitions. Sometimes they don’t have a clear strategy that tells everyone what to do next. Sometimes they’re not emotionally or mentally prepared. When the whistle blows and the ball is kicked it’s too late to prepare. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to get their players prepared to play.

Not Playing to the Strengths of the Players

Sometimes coaches don’t play to the strengths of the players they have. You can’t just go out and clear your roster and get new players. You have to play the game with the players you have. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to be willing to make adjustments to their preferences and play to the strengths of their team.

Recruit based on Potential

Some of the worst recruiting is based on potential. When you add a team member hoping they’re going to develop into a superstar your making a dangerous wager. Potential is a 4-letter-word. Recruit based on what players have already produced, not on what you hope they’ll produce. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to recruit players who have already demonstrated competency.

Individual Superstars

You can’t win games when individual superstars aren’t willing to play their part on the team so the team can succeed. If you have players that don’t’ understand when the team wins they win, then they’ll never win. It’s the responsibility of the Coach to get their individual contributors to play as a team. If they can’t, then the Coach has to get them off the team. 

What are some other reasons you’ve seen teams not play up to their potential? Leave a comment!

*Photo Credit: my iPhone


Posted in Leadership, Staffing

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Mastering the Art of Facilitation

If you haven’t noticed leadership and leading young leaders in particular is changing. Peter Drucker, considered to be the father of modern management, actually predicted this shift. He once said that:

“The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.”

Most leaders find it easier to tell than to ask. And that’s because it is. It takes less time and it requires less personal security (among other things). But facilitating leaders have got this “ask first tell second” concept down.

The Team Outperforms the Individual

Great facilitators believe that the team outperforms the individual. That “we” is always better than “me.” While you may be a fantastic leader, no leader gets everything right every time. Involving the team reduces your “miss-rate,” and builds trust and buy-in at the same time.

Process not Content

Great facilitators believe that they’re “process” and the “content” lives within their team. The job of the facilitating leader is to mine out and unlock the best ideas from their team. They trust the process and their team. Try believing in your team, you may just be surprised how they rise to the occasion.

Questions not Answers

Instead of leading with answers, facilitating leaders lead with questions. Even if your experience and leadership intuition tells you the right answer, resist the temptation to tell, and instead ask. Facilitating leaders don’t believe they have all the right answers so they ask good questions. Asking great questions teaches people to think and begin to develop their leadership muscle instead of just blindly follow by being told what to do.

By the way, if you haven’t connected the dots yet, let me help. Peter Drucker didn’t think this one up all by himself. This idea is a very Gospel centered idea. The Apostle Paul wrote about this idea multiple times throughout the New Testament comparing Christians to the “body of Christ.” Stating over and over again this idea that we are better together and none of us are as good as all of us.


Posted in Leadership, Staffing