Why Some Teams Win and Most Don’t

2013 RightNow Conference

In this 51-minute breakout session from the 2013 RightNow Conference, Larry Osborne unpacks six key factors that distinguish winning teams from losing teams, explaining what it takes to recruit, build, and maintain a healthy and unified team. Larry is Teaching Pastor at North Coast Church, a multi-site congregation in Southern California reaching over 9,500 in weekly attendance. He is author of numerous books including Sticky Church, 10 Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe, and Accidental Pharisees

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your life and ministry.

Six factors that distinguish a winning team from a losing team:
  1. Winning teams have winning players, losing teams have good and gifted players.
  2. Winning teams guard the gate, losing teams let anyone in.
  3. Winning teams make unity a priority, losing teams make it an afterthought.
  4. Winning teams focus on their mission, losing teams focus on their success.
  5. Winning teams focus on empowerment, losing teams focus on excellence and tenure.
  6. Winning teams adapt to the future, losing teams long for the past.

Larry gave the ability to adapt and strong relationship skills as crucial factors in the members of winning teams. Have you ever had someone on your team who lacked in one of these areas? What sort of problems did that create? What are some good litmus tests that help evaluate potential team members' adaptability and personability?
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Larry encouraged the biblical qualifications of elders from 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 as guidelines not just for selecting the highest level of authority in the church, but of our team members also. Are there specific times where you have overlooked character deficits due to an abundance of giftedness in an individual? How would raising the expectations for the character of your team members positively impact your congregation?
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Larry stressed the importance of working towards unity among your team. What current strategies or programs do you have that have team unity as their goal? How effective have they been? Are there any specific areas of disunity on your team currently? If so, what actions steps do you need to take to address them?
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Larry addressed the issue of mission creep—where you set out to do one thing, but slowly move from that to something else. Have you ever been part of a church or organization or team that lost site of its original purpose? Describe that situation. What structures or means of accountability do you have in place to prevent mission creep? If you don't have that, what failsafes could you put in place to keep your team on track?
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Larry said that winning teams have to have a great farm system. What are you doing to raise-up new leaders from within? Is there anything that is currently keeping you from empowering new leaders in your church? If so, how can you address and remove such hinderances?
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Larry hit on the tendency to look into the past, remembering things more fondly then they actually were. Do you ever long to go back to the "good ol' days" in your ministry? How is that sort of attitude dishonoring to the place God has called you to right now? How can you lead your team to better embrace where the Lord has you?
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From the outside, the difference between a winning team and a losing team can seem minuscule, but the results they produce differ massively. Letting God's Word guide the decisions you make in selecting team members, keeping character as the highest priority will pay dividends on how the Lord is able to bless you. "Winning teams, they're really different. Losing teams, they're just a little different—but it makes all the difference in the world when all is said and done."

For information about the upcoming RightNow Conference, go to rightnowconferences.org.