In his bestselling book, The 80/20 Principle, Richard Koch builds the case that the majority of impact comes from a few actions – that 20% of activity results in 80% of the impact. And while it may sound ruthless, Koch applies this thinking to people as well. He argues, “a few people add the most value,” that a minority of the people on a team makes the biggest impact. So he would articulate that 20% of the staff on any team makes 80% of the impact. On a healthy team, I don’t believe this is the case. When the right players gather together around a shared mission and shared values, surely more than 20% of those on the team contribute at a high level. But while I don’t agree with the percentages in every context, here are three things I have observed in the people who add the most value.
1. Their agenda is aligned.
Every healthy ministry has a clear mission. Every driven leader or team member also has an agenda. The more a driven leader’s agenda is aligned with the ministry’s mission, the bigger the impact. To help explain this, I drew the following illustration:
As illustrated in the first picture, if there is no or even minimal overlap between a staff member’s personal mission and that of the church, the lack of chemistry is overwhelming. The church and the staff member are pulling in different directions, the staff member is actually hurting the culture and direction of the church. However, as seen in the second picture, staff can share moderate amounts of “mission overlap” with the church and effectively “do their jobs.” With moderate “mission overlap,” the chemistry is acceptable as agendas can coexist. But the staff members who make the biggest impact are those with extremely high amounts of “mission overlap” (the third picture). When personal agendas are completely aligned with the agenda of the ministry, the result is exponential impact.
2. Their focus is sharp.
The staff members who make the biggest impact are narrowly focused. Instead of attempting a plethora of things, he or she focuses on what makes the biggest impact. D.L. Moody said it well, “Give me a man who says this one thing I do, and not those fifty things I dabble in.”
3. Their commitment is fierce.
When a staff member is deeply committed, there are fewer distractions. The fierce commitment builds trust, which facilitates speed and execution. When commitment is fierce, unity is enhanced. As there is less division and disunity, people are attracted to the beauty of the community.
Staff members who are aligned on mission and agenda, focused, and committed make an exponential impact on the staff culture and the ministry as a whole.