It’s almost nominating time, and with nominations come the reconstitution of teams. But will they just do business as usual, or will they make a serious difference in your congregation? Much depends on what happens at their very first meeting.

When a team comes together for the first time, typically the pecking order gets quickly established. Unfortunately, the pecking order tends to look like this:

Team Leader

Most Gregarious (LOUDEST)

Gregarious (LOUDER)

Almost Gregarious (Loud)

Pretty Quiet

Much Quieter


Even in a room of Type-A women and men, the pecking order of who carries the conversations and presses for decisions just “happens” to favor the ones who make the most noise. And, in a study reported by the Harvard Business Review, it turns out that the quieter ones, who may actually be the most knowledgeable about the task at hand, tend to settle in and just let the momentum roll.

It doesn’t have to be that way. If your newly formed team will put problem-solving and decision-making on hold for a few minutes, your team has a much better chance of being successful.

In a study done by Bryan Bonner and Alexander Bolinger,1 those teams that took the time to take an inventory of the team members’ depth and breadth of knowledge and experience were able to improve their outcomes significantly. And it turns out, the practice is really as easy as it seems. When the team knows where the wells of experience and knowledge are, it has a leveling affect that increases sharing and participation from those who carry the most pertinent information.

So, start your team out right this year. At your first meeting, take the time to probe what each member is bringing to the table. When everyone knows where the wealth of resources lies, then problem-solving and creativity are removed from the hands of the few and placed on the shoulders of the team as a whole.

Question: Think about the most effective teams you’ve been a part of. What did they do well? How could they have improved? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.


  1Bryan L. Bonner and Alexander R. Bolinger. “Bring Out the Best In Your Team.” Harvard Business Review (September 2014), 26.