Be a Catalyst
Most teams don’t naturally get better on their own. Left alone, they don’t grow, improve, and reach championship caliber. Instead, they tend to wind down. The road to the next level is always uphill, and if a team isn’t intentionally fighting to move up, then it inevitably slides down. The team loses focus, gets out of rhythm, decreases in energy, breaks down in unity, and loses momentum. At some point, it also loses key players. And it’s only a matter of time before it plateaus and ultimately declines into mediocrity. That’s why a team that reaches its potential always possesses a catalyst. Catalysts are what I call get-it-done-and-then-some people. No matter what the situation, [a catalyst is] capable of putting the team in position to win the game. That’s always the case for championship teams.
When crunch time comes, a catalyst becomes critical, whether it’s the salesperson who hits the impossible goal, the ballplayer who makes the big play, or the parent who gets a child to believe in himself at a critical moment in life. A team can’t reach big goals if it doesn’t have a catalyst. Winning teams have players who make things happen.
Peter: Let’s talk about the Offensive for a minute….one thing is clear, and that is that every age group in the Family is going to have a role to play, and your role is going to be very important.
We need to win labor leaders who will multiply our efforts by turning around and reaching others. And I believe that in many cases the Lord is going to ask you to be a key player in reaching and winning those young labor leaders who can help us do the job.
Gearing our Homes to the Offensive and reaching the goals the Lord is putting before us is going to be a huge job, and you are going to provide a large portion of the impetus, the drive, the force and energy which will make it happen.
Article continues: My experience with teams has taught me that what is true for sports is also the case for business, ministry, and family relationships. When the clock is running down and the game is on the line, [catalysts] want to be the “go to” players at crunch time and can actually deliver. They are able to push, pull, or carry the team to new levels when the going gets tough.
Every team needs catalysts if it wants to have any hope of winning consistently. Without them, even a team with loads of talent cannot go to the highest level.
Catalysts have certain characteristics that make them different than their teammates. Here are some I’ve observed in the catalysts with whom I’ve interacted:
Characteristics of a Catalyst
1. Initiative. Catalysts sense things that others don’t sense. They may be able to make an intuitive leap that turns a disadvantage into an advantage. They are able to use whatever it is they sense to help the team succeed. For a ministry or other nonprofit organization, in each case the situation is different, but the result is the same: A catalyst senses an opportunity, and as a result, the team benefits.
2. Communicative. Catalysts say things that other team members don’t say in order to get the team moving. Sometimes they share with their teammates what they have sensed intuitively so that they will be better prepared to meet the challenge. Other times their purpose is to inspire other team members. You’ll see it with strong political leaders. People such as Churchill and Roosevelt changed the world with their words. They were catalysts, and catalysts communicate.
3. Passionate. Catalysts are passionate about what they do, and they want to share that love with their teammates. Sometimes the passion explodes as a controlled fury to achieve goals in their area of passion. Other times it manifests itself as a contagious enthusiasm. But however it comes out, it can inspire a team to success.
4. Talented. Catalysts are capable of doing what others cannot do because their talent is as strong as their passion. Part of being a catalyst is also sharing your talent(s) with others to make them better.
5. Creative. Another quality commonly found in catalysts is creativity. Catalysts think differently than their teammates. They are constantly looking for fresh, imaginative ways to do things.
6. Initiating. While all creative people have more than enough ideas, not all of them are good at implementing those creative thoughts. Catalysts don’t have this problem. Not only are they creative in their thinking, but they are disciplined in their actions. They delight in making things happen.
7. Influential. Team members will follow a catalyst when they won’t respond to anyone else. In the case of a highly talented team member who is not especially gifted in leadership, he may be an effective catalyst in his area of expertise. But people with natural leadership ability will have influence far beyond their own team.
Michael Jordan is a wonderful example. I got a taste of that firsthand at the NBA 2001 All-Star Game. I had the pleasure of speaking with the referees who had been picked to officiate. During my talks with them, I asked what player they respected the most in terms of his honesty. Their answer was Michael Jordan.
One ref then recounted that in a close game, Danny Ainge, whose team [the Boston Pistons] was playing against the Bulls, made a shot near the three-point line. The officials had given Ainge only two points for the basket since they were not sure whether he was outside the three-point line. During the timeout immediately after the shot, one of the refs asked Jordan whether his opponent’s score had been a valid three-point shot. Jordan indicated that it was. They gave Ainge the three points, Jordan’s integrity-and influence-caused them to reverse their call.
8. Responsible. Catalysts carry things that others do not carry. A friend of mine has a saying: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” That could very well be the motto for all catalysts. Catalysts take responsibility for making things happen.
Jesus: A champion is far more than a mere competing athlete. A champion is one who combines destiny, prowess, training, and perseverance, and uses it to go farther than any others have gone or can go. A champion is one who presses forward to victory and triumph despite all odds. A champion doesn’t become a champion because of luck, natural talent, or favorable circumstances. A champion may have some or all of those things in their favor, but those things, alone or combined, do not make a champion. What makes a champion is strength that makes up their being from the inside out, from a will of iron to a fit, formed, and fast physique. A champion must be tough and trained in both body and mind, and a spiritual champion must also be tough in spirit.
9. Generous. A true mark of people’s taking responsibility is their willingness to give of themselves to carry things through. Catalysts display that quality. They are prepared to use their resources to better the team, whether that means giving time, spending money, or sacrificing personal gain.
The Pillar List
Jesus: A pillar is something that holds something else up. So obviously an important prerequisite for being a pillar is that you’re helping to bear an important part of a load. Whether that load is a physical one or a spiritual one, a pillar will play a key role.
*A pillar needs to look good, and by that I mean that they must be a sample of Me and a sample of obedience to the Word. Nobody wants to see a pillar that looks cracked, worn, and crumbling, or they won’t trust it to bear the weight. This doesn’t mean putting on a show, but it does mean reflecting Me in your life and actions and words as much as you’re able.
*A pillar needs to be strong and sturdy. This means that you have to have faith and be strong in Me and in your beliefs and convictions.
*A pillar needs to be dependable. Along with being strong, people also want to have the assurance and security that the pillar is going to stay in its place and do what it’s supposed to do. Others want to know that they can count on you to do your job well and faithfully without needing lots of outside intervention to make you do what you must. You also have to be stable, not doing well just when you feel like it, but consistently, because you know it’s My task for you, and thus you put your heart into it day in, day out.
*A pillar takes initiative. A pillar doesn’t wait to be told to help with something. They see the need, seek Me, counsel about it, if necessary, and respond.
*A pillar has vision, and a direct connection with Me. Pillars don’t need a go-between between Me and them. They look to Me directly for My input on how to live and how to improve in bearing the load I’ve called them to bear. They feel personally responsible for getting My viewpoints on how they can do their job better.
*A good pillar works to make others stronger. A good pillar for Me doesn’t just do its own job and bear its own load, but it helps to pull others up to a higher level as well, and through their sample and through their interactions and effects on others, they help others to be more for Me as well.
*A pillar works with others and isn’t a one-man show. There are very few buildings made of only one pillar, and it’s in the teamwork of all the pillars together that buildings are made strong. Strength and dependability are traits I look for in a pillar, but that doesn’t mean that My pillars don’t need others.
*Being a pillar is a lifestyle choice. It’s not something that happens at some point and then your status as a pillar is forever confirmed. It’s the faithful performance of your tasks for Me at a high level of consistency and excellence that determines your status as a pillar in My house.
Winning teams have players who make things happen. Without them, a team will never reach its full potential. That is the truth and law of the Catalyst.-John C. Maxwell
Becoming a Better Team Member
How are you when it comes to crunch time on your team? Do you want the ball, or would you rather it was in someone else’s hands? If you avoid the spotlight because you are afraid or because you haven’t worked as hard as you should to improve yourself, then you need to change your mindset.
Start to put yourself on the road to improvement by doing the following things:
1. Find a mentor. Find someone who makes things happen who can help you along the way.
2. Begin a growth plan. Put yourself on a program that will help you develop your skills and talents. You can’t take the team to a higher level if you haven’t gotten there.
3. Get out of your comfort zone. You won’t know what you’re capable of until you try to go beyond what you’ve done before.
No team can go to the highest level without a catalyst. Winning teams have players who make things happen.
The Story of a Catalyst
A vivid example of someone giving himself for the team can be found in the life of New York businessman, Eugene Lang. On June 25, 1981, Lang stood before 61 graduating sixth graders in P.S. 121, the East Harlem elementary school from which he had graduated decades before. He knew that statistically, 75 percent of the children would probably drop out of school during the next six years and would never graduate from high school. And he wanted to try to do something to change that.
He began by encouraging them to work hard, telling them that if they did, success would follow. But then on the spur of the moment, Lang promised those kids that if they would stick with it and graduate from high school, he would provide each of them with scholarship money for college. That promise was the start of what became the “I Have a Dream” program.
Four years later, all 61 students were still in school. Six years later, 90 percent of the 54 kids who remained in touch with Lang graduated from high school, and two-thirds of them went on to college. Today, “I Have a Dream” sponsors 160 projects in 57 cities and it touches the lives of 10,000 kids-all because Lang decided to become a catalyst.