Sticky Teams - Review

Larry Osborne is the pastor of North Coast Church in San Diego. Several years ago I read his book "Unity Factor" about board leadership at a pretty strategic time in my ministry. I picked up his book "Contrarians Guide to Knowing God" at a pretty strategic time in my life. His newest book "Sticky Teams" showed up in my mailbox last week, so I'm excited to see what's in store.

With typical clarity and an easy style, "Sticky Teams" is a lot like Osborne's other books. He is a natural strategist with a depth that surprises you with such simple books. This book is written primarily for lead pastors to help them develop teams around them that pull together and accomplish great things without falling prey to the things that can kill a team's effectiveness.

Osborne has a unique writing style. If you read "Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God," you know that he is not the typical Type-A pastor. Really, all his books reveal that, and "Sticky Teams" is no different.

"Sticky Teams will help you think through clarity of roles, transition to younger leaders, identification and elevation of leaders, and also several counterintuitive axioms that Osborne says "every leader should know." Then Osborne takes on team alignment - ensuring everyone is pulling together in the same direction, beginning with the leader. Finally, Osborne tackles communication issues that often get leaders off track.

The challenge with "Sticky Teams" is that it was written for team leaders who work with a board and a staff team. Osborne's point (though he doesn't say it) is that both those teams operate on the same principles. However, the leader's place looks very different in each of those groups. Therefore, accomplishing the "ends" Osborne suggests may look different depending on which team the leader is relating to. Sometimes Osborne describes those differences; sometimes he doesn't.

At times, this reality can make the book sound a bit like a book of sound-bytes rather than a flowing argument. Chalk that up to Osborne's style, read the book with that in mind, and you won't be disappointed.

If you lead a team or report to a board (or think you might someday), this book will be extremely helpful to you. Osborne is no fly-by-night whippersnapper with a book deal to speak about leadership. The principles he presents in "Sticky Teams" have been time tested in Larry Osborne's ministry for the past thirty years. That kind of wisdom is worth at least the $12 the book will set you back.