Here’s a question to reflect on: when you think about your team and its meetings, what do you want them to be like?
If we’re honest, most of us want to have a clearly-defined objective, and achieve it as quickly as possible. We hope we like the people on our team, but “getting it done” often feels like the bottom line, even if we know there ought to be more to it.
I was challenged – in a good way – today at one of our campuses’ first leadership team meetings of the year. Instead of ramming through a fourteen-point agenda, they actually decided to shelve official business/planning/strategy and make it a relationship building time. We ate together, caught up on each other’s summers, and just relaxed.
Just before I had to leave, one of the leaders started guiding us through a time of more purposeful sharing. Each of us had the chance to share “what God had been teaching us over the summer.” It was great. As we shared, we realized that most of us were struggling with prayer and finding real intimacy with God. All of a sudden, I felt like our relationships had just gone to a new level. We were living out the sort of vulnerable, Christ-centered friendships we hope to call others to throughout the year.
Although teams like this aren’t always “efficient”, it’s commonly-accepted that they are actually more productive and effective. And they’re certainly a lot more fun!
As another academic year begins, here are a few suggestions for making your team more connected, productive and enjoyable:
- consider having a more relaxed kick-off meeting where relationships, not business items, are the primary agenda;
- balance informal time with a season of more focused sharing that encourages honesty; not everyone needs to ‘open up’ about everything, but everyone is invited to;
- think about devoting a portion of future meetings to these same kind of things.
If this seems a little awkward to you (and/or others on your team), that’s OK. Feel free to start small and nudge just a little.
The key is understanding that relationships are part of God’s agenda and should be part of ours, too. May God bless your team as it goes deeper in the coming year.