Ideas Are Cheap. Teams Take Work.


Ideas are cheap Ideas are cheap.

Anybody can come up with a great idea, but executing that idea is a different endeavor.  There was a season that I spent some time making some iPhone apps; one of the common occurrence during that season was a ridiculous number of people would tell me they had a brilliant app idea but they just needed somebody to help them with the app.

And I was not interested.

Because ideas are a dime a dozen.  Anybody can come up with ideas.  But executing that idea is hard work.

There’s something far more important than the brilliant idea that you wait up all not far.  And that something doesn’t happen randomly when you are on a walk or in the shower, but it happens by hard work with time.

So what’s more important than a great idea?

A great team.

"A mediocre team will screw up a good idea.  But if you give a mediocre idea to a great team and let them work together, they'll find a way to succeed." - Catmull from Pixar, p.149

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great suggested,

"Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they're going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances.”

Whether you are leading a ministry, a team of volunteers, or a large organization, this is an important understanding.  The team is more important than the idea.  If you have the right people doing the right things, they can take an idea and turn it into a product or an event.  If you have the right people in the right places on the bus, they can take a problem and figure out the best solution.

The right people are always more important than the idea.

This is why so often people with their grandiose new business plans don’t succeed.  Because they have a great idea, but they have no skills or people to execute their idea.

In ministry it is often easy to focus on the next idea.  What’s the next event?  The new program?  The retreat coming up?  Or the new sermon series that needs to be designed?  And while all of those things are certainly important, what is more important is the team that works on those things together.  The team has to learn to enjoy each other, support each other, and make each other better if they are going to execute their ideas more effectively.

Perhaps the best thing you could do for your ministry is put your ideas on hold for a season and focus on the team.  Build your trust, find your roles, and learn to work together.

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