Posted by: Steve Marr on Jul 13, 2012
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Teamwork is essential for any business, church or group. One important principle that increases teamwork is the principle of division of labor. It is the principle that identifies tasks needed to complete a project and divides the work in a way that increases productivity. It is a necessary ingredient for growth and prosperity.
Consider how the division of labor principle applies to a family. A mom and dad share in the work of raising a family, but each family member contributes based on his and her strengths. Children help with chores, like taking out the garbage or cutting the grass. Teamwork makes everything go more smoothly.
King Solomon wrote, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up, But pity the man who fall and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV) A good team is made up of people with different strengths and skills that take advantage of the division of labor principle.
When I help ministries select a board of directors, I recommend that they put together a team with diverse strengths including finance, communication, theology, marketing, business operations as well as expertise in the ministry field. While the group must work together, they will usually defer to the expertise of each other.
A group needs to understand that they answer to a higher authority. In business, this may be a management person and should also include the customers. Understanding that a team exists to serve customers helps keep the focus away from themselves and on the larger goal.
Each team must set and enforce standards. Timely completion of assignments is a standard, as is work quality. Another important standard is treating each team member with kindness and respect. This includes maintaining positive, constructive communication while avoiding negative or cutting remarks. Team members will disagree but they must learn how to disagree agreeably.
Furthermore, teamwork requires some form of shared sanctions. When the team does well, all should share in a reward. When the team fails, they also share in the consequences of poor performance. This helps force mutual cooperation. One person cannot win unless the team wins.
Continuity is another key principle of effective teams. Over time teams recognize and respect the expertise of different members. I participate on a team with a member who can be difficult. However, this person’s input is usually right. I have learned to weigh this person’s comments carefully. Trust gained over time is valuable.
A team builds a reputation. A good reputation encourages others to join the team. The 101st Airborne Division gained a positive reputation after their stand at Bastogne during the epic Battle of the Bulge. When others want to join the team because of their successful reputation, the team can be selective about membership in their group.
Business leaders need to incorporate these principles to create effective, functioning teams. God gave us a perfect example in the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are all part of the same being and work in perfect harmony.
Establish your teams carefully as you build your business. Use different strengths, establish accountability, set standards, use sanctions, build continuity, and develop a positive reputation. Teamwork will make your business prosper.
Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach
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