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“If I were starting over, this is how I’d create a high-performance team” by Andy Stanley

April 19, 2013

Andy Stanley’s 1st session at Friday’s Catalyst – West main session


Most people in the work force don’t feel like they’re part of team. They feel like employees. Hiring a staff is not the same as developing a team. For those content to manage the status quo, employees will do. But for the leader who is consumed by the desire to move the needle, team is an absolute necessity. Here’s why:

Synergy – when a combination of elements produces an effect greater than the sum of the individual elements.

Dilemma: Most people in charge think they’re leading a great team but most team members don’t feel like they’re part of a team = disconnect.

Last summer Andy took the entire summer off from speaking to walk around the campus each weekend evaluating everything with these two questions: “Why does it work so well?” “What if it broke?”

“If you don’t know why something’s working, you will not know how to fix it when it breaks!”

We don’t generally evaluate success. We generally only evaluate things that are broken. Successful leaders evaluate success.

Andy (w/leadership team) decided they were doing 3 things well. Andy, If I were starting all over, based on what I’ve learned, here’s how I would create a high-performance team:”

andy stanley

I. Select performance-oriented people and position them for maximum impact.

a. Recruit doers not thinkers. Ask them “What have you done?” Not, “Where have you worked?”

b. It is much easier to educate a doer than to activate a thinker. At Northpoint we hire doers out of the market place and pay them to go to seminary. You can always rent a thinker!

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant!” – Jim Collins

Paul was a doer. God hand-picked a doer to share His Gospel.

c. Position individuals for maximum impact.

1. Put your best people on your best opportunities!

Pharoah hired Joseph because he decided, “I want someone who wakes up every morning thinking about our country’s coming famine.”

Despite the org chart, Pharoah decided to put the best person on the best opportunity.

You’re tempted to be fair. But fairness ended in the Garden of Eden.

2. Connect the dots.

Everyone needs to understand the interdependence of the staff. Do this in staff meetings through stories and expressing gratitude.

Do your team members feel interdependent? Do they understand how what they do impacts what others do?

II. Clarify the “what” and the “why”

a. Performance-oriented people like to win. You must clarify the win! One sentence purpose-statements for every ministry.

“A clear, common, compelling task that is important to the individual team members is the single biggest factor in teams success.” – Pat Macmillan, The Performance Factor

b. Team dissolves when the problems are all solved.

You know where you begin with the discussion of change? Not with what needs to change but your vision. People won’t let go until you clarify where you want them to go! This requires extraordinary clarity.

c. Organize to the what

1. Create an organization where the lions-share of the resources are allocated to the what. That’s the game-changer!

2. Don’t force people to work around the organization.


What is the problem your team has come together to solve?

What is the task your team has come together to accomplish?

What is the opportunity your team has come together to leverage?

What is the what around which everything should be organized?

Andy, “Why am I being critical? Because billions of dollars are spent every year by the church driving high schoolers out of the church!”

III. Orchestrate and evaluate everything

a. Orchestrate: This is how we do it here until further notified. “Orchestration is the elimination of discretion or choice at the operating level of your business.” – Michael Gerber, The E-myth Revisited

1. Orchestration brings consistency and predictability to all your processes and environments.

2. This will actually make your organization feel more, not less, personal.

3. You already do this in some areas. (i.e., children’s check-in)

b. Evaluate everything

1. Evaluate formally and systematically

– With the people involved.

– As often as it occurs.

2. Create a feedback loop that keeps you closer to the events.

– Growth distances leaders from the events that matter most.

– Numbers don’t tell the whole story.

Question: What are the mission-critical events in your organization? (At Northpoint: Service-programming, children’s ministry, and guest services)


1. Select performance-oriented people
2. Clarify the what and the why.
3. Orchestrate and evaluate everything.

P.S. I’ll be sharing more notes from Catalyst-West on Monday.


From → Leadership, Ministry

  1. Chuck Grace permalink

    Thanks Mark. This is great stuff and look forward to hearing more.

  2. Thanks Chuck. I’ll be posting more notes from Catalyst in the days ahead.

  3. Tom Meugniot permalink

    Thanks Mark! Great note taking! 🙂 This was one of my favorite talks of the whole conference!!!

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