Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Committee vs. Team

Let’s face it. Committees are a joke. You laugh when you hear about them and you moan when you are asked to be on one.

I’ve noticed a trend recently. Churches are changing the names of their “committees”. It is no longer the missions committee but rather the missions team, or global task force, or team for global impact, etc.

This is a good idea given the negative connotations of a committee. But really, what’s the difference between a team and a committee?

While chatting with my teammate Dustin the other day we identified two main differences from our personal experience between committees and teams.

It seems that committees are based upon deliberation. Six people get together in a room and talk about an issue. They talk and talk. Talk is focused on the politics of the decision, past procedure, or minute detail. Then the issue is tabled until the next meeting, when they will talk some more.

After a period no shorter than 3 months the committee renders a decision.

The decisions that come out of committee are usually safe, compromising, and do not effect positive change.

In short, committees talk a lot but don’t ever get anything done.

On the other hand, properly functioning teams are based upon roles, and each team member fulfilling their role at the highest level possible.

Discussion becomes pointed as each person offers their unique perspective. This moves debate and makes it interesting. It also allows the leader to quickly see all of the angles to a problem and available options.

The result is a quicker decision.

But not just any decision. A more strategic one.

Properly functioning teams have a purpose. Whether it is a football team that wants to win the Super Bowl, a team of scientific researchers who must develop a more effective drug for fighting a disease, or a church missions team whose heart is see the expansion of the church in unreached parts of the world, teams have a reason to exist.

Each decision made by a team is intended to enhance effectiveness in fulfilling its purpose.

So while committees are based upon deliberation, teams are based upon action.

Pray right now for Team Italy One as we meet regularly to make decisions. Pray that we would always move beyond deliberation to strategic action.

1 comment:

Kerry C. said...

This is a great piece. I'll be incorporating some of it in a message I'm preaching this weekend.

A related difference I've observed between a committee and a team is that a committee member is often chosen based on willingness, whereas a team member is chosen based on ability.