Page banner.jpg

Let’s Build This House

Over the years my wife Liz and I have been privileged to join several groups “helping” (really?!) to build small houses in Ethiopia.

It works like this.

We turn up, along with twelve or so other international volunteers who have never met before, we have a leader, and we work alongside the local tradesmen and villagers in helping to build houses.

Our role is small. But it matters. And the model works.

For ten days or so, we dig holes together, move piles of rocks together, shift sand together, paint walls together, think about the accident of birth together, and perhaps make some decisions about what we will do with our new awareness.

Then we finish. It’s been great. We are no longer just a group. We are a Team!

And then we have 2-3 days’ rest and recreation together. Well, sort of.

Because the Team falls apart almost immediately. The “together” bit goes right out the window. Maybe I want to go to the museum, you want to go shopping, someone else wants to visit the market, and others want to sit in the hotel.

We have lost our common purpose. And we are no longer a Team.

We become virtually impossible to manage. We squabble. We start to irritate each other.

We are just a group of people in the same place, but we are no longer having the same experience.

Lots of groups that gather together are not Teams. They are just groups. And that may be OK, but let’s not kid ourselves that we are a Team.

The job of the leader is to create a sense of common purpose, and to get the group all to buy into it.

Then they will become a Team, they will collaborate rather than bicker, and they will make something happen.

Something that would not otherwise have happened.

So if you are a looking to build a Team, first identify the “house” you want to build.

With that, you have a chance. Without it, none.