The Power of Application

We don’t need new information as much as we need to master what we already know.   We need to apply what we’ve learned.

– Chris Lewis, Lead Pastor at Foothill Church (and my pastor)

While Chris was talking about living from our knowledge of and belief in Jesus, I immediately thought of the teamwork and collaboration


Power of Application.

principles I teach. We don’t need new, flashy, cutting-edge ideas about teamwork.  As Solomon wisely said: “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

We must discipline ourselves to apply what we already know. 

Of course, we know lots about effective team performance.  But our teams lack direction, unity, and, quite frankly, effectiveness.  Why?  Because we don’t apply what we know. So, this week, I encourage you to practice what you already know about teams … and if you don’t know much, here are 8 markers of high performance teams*, derived from the careful study of over 6000 teams in a variety of industries.

  1. Clear and elevating goal – all team members clearly know the stretching, elevating thing they are trying to accomplish
  2. Results-driven structure – the team establishes team values, roles, accountability processes, decision-making practices, and communication processes that drive goal accomplishment
  3. Competent team members – team members possess diverse, balanced skill sets, a strong desire to contribute, and the proven capability to work well with others
  4. Unified commitment – team members intensely identify with the team and are dedicated to team goals
  5. Collaborative climate – team members trust one another in a climate full of honesty, openness, consistency, and respect
  6. Standards of excellence – the team agrees on the standards of their work, which drive individual commitment, motivation, performance, and provide the basis for accountability
  7. External support and recognition – the team has the time, personnel, and financial resources it needs to accomplish its goal
  8. Principled leadership – team leaders don’t control or dominate the team, but rather establish vision, create change, and unleash talent

In the midst of your busy week, I urge you: Take a few minutes to reflect upon your team or the teams in your organization, and rate your team on these 8 markers.  After you identify your team’s weakest areas, jot down 2-3 things you can do this week to improve your team’s performance in your 1 or 2 weakest areas.

Then, leave a comment to let me (and others) know what you did.  Or, if you’re stuck and don’t know what to do, let me know the challenges you are facing via a blog comment or email and I’ll see if I can help.

If nothing else, I hope you’re encouraged to apply the truth you already know, in your faith, personal discipline, health, family, leadership, work, or teamwork.


* Larson, C. E., & LaFasto, F. M. J. (1989). TeamWork: What must go right/what can go wrong. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.



  1. Timothy Kellogg November 9, 2011 at 11:43 am - Reply

    I really appreciate the practical application that you provide in your blog. It’s no wonder you are the most effective employer I’ve had to date (not that this comes as any real surprise to me). I particularly like your comments on Principled Leadership. Ordinarily, blogs about stuff like this do not catch my interest, but I have found yours useful in evaluating my strengths and weaknesses as a team leader (professional Youth Director) and team member (volunteer ministry support). I look forward to reading more!


    The Dialect of Praxis

  2. Ryan Hartwig November 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm - Reply

    Great Tim. I’ll keep sending them. If I can be of any help to about specific issues you are facing, let me know.


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