By Mark Aschraft with HH Architects
Who does not like to succeed? We all like to hear “job well done” – especially when completing a building project. Before starting any project, one of the most impactful decisions you will make is determining the team, both within your organization and the professional consultants, who will shepherd it forward. The success of your project is directly linked to a successful relationship of the team driving it. Mattie Stepanek captured this well when he said, “Unity is strength. . . when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” So, what does a successful team look like?
We believe there are five motivational areas of focus for building and keeping a successful team – Relationships, Communication, Clarity, Leadership, and Joy.
It is not about just being connected, working towards the same task. It is an intentional focus on the people in your team and those working on your project. Get to know each other, build trust through open dialogue, and find your common ground. Everyone has a part to play, and the team will be stronger for recognizing it. We have all heard that what you put in is what you get out. Your team will spend a lot of time together, working through various challenges and opportunities and needs to have this common base of trust to return to.
It is one of the pillars of any great relationship. The importance here is to cast a compelling vision. You need to define what you are hoping to achieve and discuss how you expect to get there. Make sure all parties have an opportunity to speak into and ultimately buy into the project goals. Establish a method for sharing information, create a distribution plan for action items and the decisions for them. Whether in person or online (think Zoom), hold regular meetings to discuss progress and evaluate next steps. This communication is critical in creating clarity.
Creating clarity is meant to be a challenging process. The key to finding the way forward is asking questions, testing assumptions and diving into what success looks like for all parties involved. Success will mean different things to everyone. Focusing on creating clarity on where each member is speaking from helps frame the discussion and find solutions to accomplish most, if not all, the expectations you have identified. But most important, clarity builds trust that the team is together and on the same path to success.
Encouragement and motivation are a must in keeping a project team on task on working together. A clear organizational structure for the project team needs to be identified, giving clarity on roles and expectations for the various players. You want to provide a clear direction with a defined framework that values effectiveness over efficiency. C.S. Lewis puts it best — “We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” Leadership within the team enables the group to be the shepherd needed as the project is rolled out and presented to the community.
We are emotive beings, each with our own opinions. You will spend a lot of time together as a group, making decisions to move your project forward, so make sure you are willing to commit and contribute accordingly. All relationships need nourishment. Be purposeful in how you cultivate the relationships within the team. Enjoy each other, enjoy the process, and use the experience as a growth opportunity. Whether the team is together or mired in friction will be born out in the work itself. Every project should be seen as a blessing, as an opportunity to glorify God in what He enables us to achieve.
Being successful is more than just completing your given task. Success is found in the preparations you make, it is found in how your team delivers on expectations, and it can be found in the impact a project has on the intended audience when completed. By focusing on these five motivational areas in developing a build team, you will create the synergy needed to shepherd a project to a successful completion – glorifying God and bringing more people to know Him.