I want you to imagine for a moment that you are a fan of the Atlanta Falcons professional football team. You believe there is great hope in the upcoming season. You are intently following their offseason moves so you get a better idea of exactly HOW good the upcoming season will be. Then you see the following in the newspaper:
5 New Star Falcons!
Your first thoughts are full of excitement and you can’t wait to see the names of these new stars on the team. As you read through the article, your mood changes. In fact, it gets downright maddening as you see the details of the new players that have been signed.
Why are you frustrated? As it turns out, your favorite team has signed five of the best players in the league. While that SHOULD be a good thing, the truth is it is not. Unfortunately for you, all five of the “all-star” players that were signed are quarterbacks!
What Are They Thinking?
Granted, with a possible exception here or there, these are arguably the best five quarterbacks in the league right now. There is no question they are the best. The problem is that no team needs five quarterbacks! Of course, the Falcons’ ownership realizes this…
Which is why they are planning to play these new stars on the offensive line.
Seriously? You can’t believe your eyes! What are they thinking?
Diversity Is Necessary!
Obviously, this is fiction – don’t get too worked up! But clearly, there is a huge point here relating to business, churches, and any other organization. The point here is that diversity is a major benefit to an organization and the lack of it can be just as deadly.
Think about it. Too many people with the same skills and talents, the same perspectives and opinions, etc. can be a good thing if your only goal is harmony. You won’t likely have many arguments or confrontations this way, but do you really think you will be more effective this way?
The problem with this picture is that most organizations have a variety of jobs that need to be done. Each of these jobs require differing skill sets and talents. Just like a football team has different positions that require different body types, sizes, flexibility, and speed, your organization cannot be effective if everyone is just alike.
Good At One, Good At Another?
While the five quarterbacks mentioned above are likely among the best at the quarterback position, they are not nearly big enough or strong enough to play on the offensive line. Even if they are better at their position than the current offensive line is at theirs, that does not mean it is a good idea to put them in this position.
Yet, often we do this very thing in our businesses. We see someone that is good at sales and just assume she is also good at managing other people. So we promote her without considering that these two jobs require very different skills and abilities.
I am sure you can think of similar examples of this kind of behavior in your organization. I can promise you we have made this mistake more than once. In fact, I have been guilty of this myself – with my own job.
My Own Job!
For years, I have tried to do certain parts of my job even though I am not very skilled at these parts of the job. I did them because I knew they had to be done and felt I was the only one who could do them.
Fortunately, during a one-on-one coaching session, my C12 chairman told me that I was not at all good at these parts of my job! He did not mince words, but told me exactly what I needed to hear. I am so thankful for this kind of wisdom and accountability!
I Followed The Advice
As a result, I have been on a search for someone that IS skilled at these tasks. I am determined I am not going to continue making the same mistake because I know how much it is limiting the success of our company.
Sure, it is certainly humbling to realize that I am not able to do everything our organization needs out of my position. I would love nothing more than to be able to fill this role in a way that takes the company to new heights. At the same time, I realize that God did not wire me that way.
My gifts and talents are absolutely useful in our company, just not in the roles I have been playing. I am okay with that.
Example From Scripture
Just so we are sure these principles are true and not just my opinion, let’s take a look at Scripture that backs this up.
If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:17-20
Can you see how this works in a business? This same principle that Paul describes as the body of Christ works for a business, non-profit organization, or any other group of people with a common purpose.
I would encourage you to look around your business (and in the mirror!) to see if you have the diversity of skills, perspectives, gifts, etc. that you need. If not, make a conscious effort to begin the process of correcting this problem. In my next post, we will look at how diversity may not be enough.