Why Team Alignment Is So Important

 photo credit: chewonki_mcs via flickr CC

photo credit: chewonki_mcs via flickr CC

Ultimately, friends, the question before us is “what does it look like for us to be aligned?” We’ve talked much lately about the concepts of us being a global organization. We’ve talked much lately about our need to ensure that our message matches our mission. For the sake of the future, alignment is the key. But why?

The extent to which we are aligned as a team is directly proportionate to the ministry impact we can expect in the years to come. 

Little alignment, little impact.

Great alignment, great impact.

So, what does this alignment look like?

First, Teamwork with our hands. 

Let’s consider for a minute what it would look like if several of us climbed into a canoe together. So, it’s a rather large canoe. Yet, as we precariously position ourselves, loading into the boat, wobbling to make sure no one falls out, we all get our positions and some of us are facing one way, others another way, others yet looking off to the side.

We all find our spaces and then start paddling. Keep in mind that each of us is working really, really hard to paddle this canoe. But we’re all facing different directions. Are we each committed to the idea of motion? Yes. Are we each committed working as hard as we can? Yes. But if we’re not all pointing in the same direction, we are wasting energy and not making the kind of impact we could if we were facing the same direction. But wait – what if we’re all facing the same direction but all of our paddles are on one side of the boat? We end up … going in circles. Or what if we are paddling out of sync, splashing water all over the place? We end up with a lot of action, but little motion.

For us to be aligned as a ministry we must be committed to teamwork with our hands. We’re all working in concert with one another, balancing the load, and pointed in the same direction.

For maximum alignment, we must be connected to a Target with our minds. 

Are there times a ministry when each of us in a given department or division aren’t really sure we know what the target is? Let’s be honest – even as we share a common organizational goal, do we all know who we really are as a ministry that is going to get us there?

What would it look like if we could all unequivocally agree that we were a part of the same team, pointed at the same target? If we all truly felt that what we did each day in our little part of paddling the canoe was getting us collectively in the direction we thought we wanted to head? What would it mean to have a message that we could all look at with our eyes and feel with our hearts about this ministry that God has led each of us to?

[This is where I showed a video that highlights the vision and mission of our organization. It's top-secret for now, so you'll just have you use your imagination.] ;-)

That’s the team we are a part of. That’s the target we are striving towards. That’s a mission I get excited to work for, that’s a mission I’m glad exists for the sake of my kids, and that’s a mission that is far too important to trust to chance. We must have teamwork, we must sync on that target, and perhaps most of all…

We must Trust with our heart. 

Alignment is more than just working in sync. It’s having absolute trust in everyone in the boat. That no one is going to slack off and not pull their weight, no one is going to try to capsize your boat, no one is going to stick their paddle in and create drag.

God has done incredible things in this ministry for the last 64 years… I am convinced that unless he returns sooner, he has even more incredible things for the 64 years ahead. But the only way that will happen is if we all, as a team, truly trust each other.

We must assume the positive instead of the negative.

We must be the encouragement instead of the discouragement.

We must support the work of a department we don’t understand.

We must lean on each other’s strengths even when we don’t understand their personality. 

And at the end of the day we must, without a doubt, know that everyone here has our back.

It doesn’t matter your title, your department, your position or paygrade; if we are going to do what God is leading us to do – we must be aligned…and alignment ultimately revolves around trust.

We have to be able to look at each other and say “the more I can trust you; and the more you can trust me, the further we can go together.”

So… why are we doing this? Why did we shut the place down and invest an entire day to sit here together when we all have so much work to do…task lists growing, emails piling up, meetings to schedule? Because there is incredible value in shared vision and alignment. Because there is great wisdom in joining forces to know the team and know the mission and know the banner under which we are all flying together. Because there is nothing better than taking a pause from day-to-day life to pause, seek the Lord, and look to one another as team mates on the field together, learning to trust each other, to support each other, to be there for each other.

Friends, without a doubt, today is a success if we can all walk out saying:

  1. I belong here.
  2. I like where we’re headed.
  3. I recognize my role in the mission we are on.

May that, my friends, be our heart today. And may that be our passion every day going forward.