“We need to have a Come To Jesus meeting!”  No one wants to hear those eight words.  If you hear this statement, it often means things have gone terribly wrong in your church, family, business or athletic team..  It indicates things have declined to a very unhealthy level.  Changes are desperately needed.

If done right, these type of meetings regain lost momentum, (re)build team chemistry and ensure future success.

After the Seattle Seahawks’s controversial and devastating loss in last season’s Super Bowl, quarterback Russell Wilson organized a working vacation in Hawaii for 85 teammates and family members.  Sensing high tension, finger-pointing and increasingly poor morale, the trip was designed for everyone to air their differences and ultimately rebuild team unity.

In the September 7th edition of Sports Illustrated, Greg Bishop chronicled the team’s trip. As I read his account, I gleaned 15 Tips To Having A Healthy “Come To Jesus” Meeting:

  1. Admit A Come To Jesus Meeting Is Needed – A leader’s primary responsibility is to properly evaluate reality.  Wilson intuitively knew the Seahawks needed to iron out their differences.
  2. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Best Happens Organically – Leaders are self-starters.  It was the players who called this meeting, not the coaches or management.
  3. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Is Led By Leaders – All the team’s leaders were present except Earl Thomas who was rehabbing an injury.  The meeting’s primary leaders were Wilson, key locker room voice wide receiver Doug Baldwin and safety Kam Chancellor.  Baldwin said, “Kam was pivotal.  He’s like the godfather of the locker room.  Any problems, any issues, you go to him.”
  4. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Requires Brutal Honesty – Nothing was off limits regarding everyone’s feelings about the team, its personnel, how decisions are made and why the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl.  Therefore…
  5. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Can Be Harsh – But you want an environment where everyone can get their issues off their chest.
  6. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Needs All The Relevant Parties Present – Wilson traditionally invited only quarterbacks and receivers to the annual off-season trip to Honolulu.  This year the entire offense and defense were invited.
  7. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Is Filled With Tension – Healthy teams wrestle with tension.  It is part of the leadership journey.
  8. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Comes With A High Personal Cost – Wilson personally chartered a private plane for the 85 passengers.
  9. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Requires Everyone’s Participation – Passivity and lack of transparency are the enemies of a healthy Come To Jesus meeting.  The first meeting took over 45 minutes with everyone sharing their initial thoughts.
  10. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Increases Accountability – It will force people to take responsibility for the actions and role in team success.
  11. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Asks And Answers Questions – Baldwin said, “There were a lot of questions that needed to be answered.  And a lot that needed to be asked.”
  12. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Honors People’s Time – Russell had meticulously scheduled every moment of the trip.  This included morning workouts to afternoon trips to team dinners.
  13. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Builds On The Success You Have Had – Every evening the team watched motivational videos which included team highlights from their biggest wins.
  14. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Makes You Vulnerable – Baldwin said, “We were forced to be vulnerable.  And that made us closer.”
  15. A Healthy Come To Jesus Meeting Still May Not Work – Baldwin concluded, “We didn’t know if the trip was going to work.  We still don’t.”

Something tells me their trip will work and the Seahawks will have a great season.  Does your business, team, church or family need a healthy Come To Jesus Meeting?  If so, I hope this list helps.

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