More Collaboration is Better for Your Ministry – Until It’s Not

Collaboration is an important part of innovation.  The days of the lone genius are gone (if they ever really existed at all) – now, it takes a network to innovate.

But how much collaboration do we need?

In his new book To Sell is Human, Dan Pink talks about some interesting findings in the research of Adam Grant.  Grant looks at sales results relative to a person’s level of extraversion.  Everyone knows that extraverts make the best salespeople, right?  Well, wrong, actually.  Check this out:

Sales Revenue - Extraversion

Pink says:

As you can see from the chart, the folks who fared the best — by a wide margin — were the in the modulated middle. They’re called “ambiverts,” a term that has been in the literature since the 1920s. They’re not overly extraverted. They’re not overly introverted. They’re a little of both.

He adds more detail in this post, and also has a test where you can test whether or not you’re an ambivert too.

The key question is why does it turn back down?  This upside-down U shape is actually a very common research finding.   You frequently see it in systems that require attention.  Usually, it means that if you have too many team members involved, you can’t pay enough attention to each, and your results start to get worse.

This is interesting for a three reasons.

  • We often search for black and white answers – but life rarely offers them.
  • Is collaboration good?  Yes, but only up to a point.
  • Is extraversion good if you’re a salesperson (and all leaders are “selling” something)?  Yes, but only up to a point.

Figuring out where that point lies is part of the art of managing.  And being comfortable with the ambiguity in this is an even bigger part being a leader.

So just remember: more is better, but only until it’s not.

Read more from Tim here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

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Recent Comments
I'm having a hard time making the distinction in my head. Shouldn't a part of disciple making be teaching them that they need to make disciples? Isn't successful discipleship that relationship that leads to more disciples, thus fulfilling the mission? I understand the distinction if you're using the wrong assumption of discipleship being inward focused, but it isn't... it shouldn't be. The core of discipleship should be urgency in the mission to make more disciples. Ok... I understand what you're saying now about "what's more important." Thanks for letting me think in circles for a minute.
 
— Mike Hill
 
I love Ed's writings and heart. I am frustrated by these articles, however. Much of the missiological basis of the Church Growth Movement are not mentioned, and the origination of the formulas are not substantiated. Also, the Movement via Wagner, started mentioning the importance of health over 3o years ago. I wish these articles were better researched and less sweeping in their generalizations. Things like E1, E2, E3 evangelism, group multiplication, relational networks, faith, health, and the care to measure the right things are largely missing here. Perhaps Ed has earned the right to generalize, but I still was disappointed. But keep researching Ed! Ed and Thom have continued on in the spirit of the movement by doing quality research, and for that I am deeply grateful.
 
— Gary Westra
 
This discussion will continue, for sure. I am tasked with the online worship ministry do our church at FBC Trussville and it is proving to be an important piece of the overall ministry. As in most things In life and technology, balance is in order. Many of our older adults prefer the "live" service online rather than a week or even day-later DVD or downloaded service. They tell me it is important for them to be a part while the service occurs. This is key because if a person simply wanted the message or music or to see the pastor because they "like" him, then it would not need to be live. There is a sense with our people that they need to experience the worship with their church family in real time. Theologically, folks will have issues. This is a disruptive technology for church. But I would hope that before we toss it all away we would approach it with wisdom and humility. Personally, I would like to see the Church grow through small, cost-effective ways like this and not just brick-and-mortar.
 
— Robby
 

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