"What do we need to do to get us to the next level?" That's perhaps the one question I get asked the most.  While the answer might include strategies like  better systems, seizing opportunities, new facilities, retooling business or ministry models, they are all predicated on the most important variable of all: the competence of the team.

next level teams

As I look back in decades of consulting, I can point to the competence of a team as the key element on taking an organization to the next level. Most businesses, churches or not for profits have gotten where they are in the strength of their current team. In my experience, the next level always requires "next-level" thinking and performance. Good leaders realize that and want to move forward. But unless the team has what it takes to run at a difference pace, the organization will not get unstuck.

I have sat through many a strategy session where a leader would get clarity on how to move to the next level. In many of those instances, I knew that the team in the room could not go pass where they were. Some members would make the journey by growing to meet their new challenge. Others, sometimes the majority, would not. As a matter of fact, they would usually end up, consciously or unconsciously,  sabotaging the new strategy until it died or they left, or were asked to leave, the organization.

Early on in my career I would gently walk my clients through these tough personnel decisions. After all, some of those on my not-making list were good people who had been part of the organization for years. In my attempt to soften the blow, I ended up prolonging the pain. Much like pulling a painful band-aid slowly. I have changed my strategy. I find myself being much more direct: "You can get there, but you will not get there with Susan, Bob and Carl. Do you still want to do it?"

Think about your team. Usually the weakest link at the highest level in the organization will determine how far the organization can go.


How do you feel about my team assessment approach? Do you prefer the slow and painful or the short, and yet painful method?


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