We have explored how the absence of trust and a failure to deal with debate and conflict can inhibit the building of your Church Safety Ministry (www.churchsafetyministry.com) teams.
Let's now look at the third dysfunction of a team - the lack of commitment (a.k.a "buy-in"). Recently, a client of mine said, "I don't understand why when I ask someone to do a task they are not committed to getting it done."
There is a reason for that other than "I just got busy and didn't get around to it." In the context of a team, commitment is a function of two things: clarity (the team members clearly understand the reason for the process, task or responsibility) and "buy-in."
Your team members must understand why they should "buy-in" to doing the task or responsibility and how it impacts the overall safety mission and congregation. They are more likely to commit to the work when they have asked and gotten their questions answered, raised and resolved their issues and had their concerns addressed. Only when you have gone through a collaborative, informed consent process to gain team trust will you get commitment.
Church safety teams can make timely decisions when they understand as to why they should do a task in a certain way.
A trend we will begin to see as we work through the Five Dysfunctions of Team training is the participation in some form or another of collaboration among our church safety volunteers.
To achieve commitment, we clearly define what success looks, sounds and will feel like. We explain how the volunteer and the entire organization benefits when everyone is focusing on the clearly defined goals.
You and the volunteers need clear definitions of the realistic goals that the volunteers have helped construct. Only then will you get the required "buy-in" to these goals. Such goals can achieve the defined deliverables and break down institutional silos and help everyone achieve organizational success. It's not uncommon to see initiatives and goals being driven "top-down" from pastors and elders in church leadership. Without your volunteers' commitment, these top-down driven goals will never be achieved; it is far better to engage them in setting the goals.
Everyone must understand why building a successful team is essential to them, their part of the church and the overall organization. If there is uncertainty and a lack of buy-in from leadership to build a Model of Excellence team this uncertainty can lead to a dangerous ripple down effect to the congregational level.
You can have the best possible volunteers with true "servant's hearts;" a team that trusts one another and isn't afraid to deal with the hard problems straight on, however without the commitment from all of your volunteers you will not achieve a Model of Excellence team.
Why do we all not get something done now and then? It's because we are not committed, we either don't understand the importance of the task - we are not clear on why the responsibility is ours because we have not developed trust with our team. Most likely, we have not had the opportunity to ask questions, debate approaches and come to an agreement as to the purpose of the task.
To achieve our team's commitment, we must first go through the trust building and healthy debate and conflict stages of the five dysfunctions of a team. Getting commitment is not about looking for consensus (everybody agreeing is impossible); instead, it is to get everyone to rally around whatever decision is ultimately made by the group and then move forward.
L. Darryl Armstrong, Ph.D. is the principal at L. Darryl ARMSTRONG and Associates LLC, a firm providing crisis communications and consulting training nationwide.