Book Review Sticky Teams by Larry Osborne

Posted: April 17, 2013 by thoughtsfrommyshelf in Uncategorized

           Whether you are on a sports team, ministry team, or executive team we all have experienced the difficulty of team unity. Larry Osborne is no stranger to boards and executives being at odds. In his book, Sticky Teams, he shares a very helpful paradigm that could help bring unity among diversity.

            The first section of the book fleshes out what brings a close-knit group together. Speaking specifically to ministry teams, he argues for doctrinal, relational, and philosophical unity. If the people on your team disagree doctrinally, the implications will look differently and decisions will take longer to make. If there is relational division, it is likely that your agenda meetings will be more like the UFC minus the crowd, or a sparring match between two team members. The same thing goes for the philosophical aspect of a team. If there are two different avenues to carry out doctrinal convictions and two are at odds there will be more disagreements than actions items.

            The second section of the book answers a set of questions that come up as you read the first: How should I handle conflict? How do I get the right team together? How have you sought to get your team on the same page in search for unity?  I believe that you could sell yourself cheap if you do not finish the rest of the book and see the insights and thoughts Larry Osborne has to offer. Though I suggest you read these solutions as possibilities to a context rather than prescriptions for all settings, I believe you will find most of them helpful.

             The most helpful chapters for me were: What game are we playing (Ch. 4), Making room at the top (Ch.8), and Equipped to Lead: Lobbying isn’t Training (Cp. 9).  These were helpful in creating a framework for how to structure teams, create pipelines for leadership, and for creating convictions among the team. Different teams operate in different ways, so too with ministry teams. Pipelines for leadership will look different depending on the size, capacity, and resources. If young leaders aren’t given a platform by which to be catalyzed they will more than likely find room to fly in an area where their wings aren’t being clipped. 

            When it comes to leading a team, it is easy to lead from personal convictions instead of leading the team through a thought process. It is much harder to lead a team through a journey of why we do things the way they are done. Lobbying is not the same thing as training. Osborne hits the nail on the head when he says that the process is more important than our curriculum.

             In conclusion, I find this book helpful in discerning what kind of team I have, the pipelines of leadership I make, and the training that is provided to create doctrinal, philosophical and relational unity. I highly recommend this book to anyone who serves in any leadership capacity. The principles in this book can be transferred over to build a tighter, impenetrable group.


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