Leadership Lesson 6: The Power of a Team -- the Great Sequoia

The Power of a Team

While visiting the beautiful Yosemite, the great Sequoia tree reminded me of a powerful leadership lesson: the power of a team. These giant trees are some of the largest trees in the world -- so large that a car or truck can pass through them with room to spare. An interesting fact our ranger shared with us is that these trees need each other to survive. Immediately, my mind went to our team at OCU and to your team at your location. See if you identify:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord   ~I Corinthians 12:4-5

The team grows strong as each uses the gifts and abilities to strengthen the team. The Sequoia grows strong and withstands massive storms by interlocking its root system with other Sequoias. Whether in the church or your organization, the team becomes stronger by building on the strengths of each individual contributor. In the 21st century the church, denominations -- and many organizations, for that matter -- are missing this concept. The leader cannot be autocratic and self-absorbed or a protectionist. The leader must be about building a team. We are not in a competition; we need each other. We must learn to build on each other’s gifts and abilities.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  ~James 1:2-4

The team grows stronger through fire and testing. The Sequoia will not survive long term if it is not introduced to fire. Studies have found that fire is required for the strengthening and growth of the giant Sequoia. We hate testing, but if a team does not have to work through problems, think, and strategize, mediocrity and status quo become part of the organization. This is why early success is so dangerous. Teams must be deep and tested. Last year at OCU, our team faced perhaps one of its greatest challenges with regard to a decision that was forced upon us by an outside entity. The team knew there was a problem and worked feverishly to discover it. Every team member had to get involved to solve it, but after months of toil, agony, and sleepless nights, we solved the problem. The team is much stronger as a result of this testing. Teams must think or sink in testing times. Will you lead your team to the growth it can enjoy? Non-leaders do not lead because with growth comes problems. Who wants problems? Build a team and lead your organization to success. This is a God-view as I studied the great Sequoia.