For Impact


Elite Teams: The Missing Element

For Impact Ideas | | Tom Suddes

A confluence/coming together of three emails drives this BIG IDEA.

Three different orgs (two colleges and a large For Impact org) love our ‘stuff’… and want more training and support. All three, however, are saying, “I just don’t have money in the budget (this year or next year).”

I hope the following thoughts on Elite Teams help them and many of you re-think the whole idea of training, budgets, team dynamics, priorities and more.


  • What is the one common element inherent in every Elite Team?
  • What common thread creates Elite Teams in the military (Navy Seals, Delta Force), professional sports (LA Kings, Miami Heat, St. Louis Cardinals), professional musicians (symphony, orchestra, medicine, surgical teams, trauma units), etc.?
  • What does every one of these teams… and the individuals involved with the team… DO better than everyone else in the world?

Think about it.

Military teams constantly practice, practice, practice in boot camp, training camps, simulations, etc. Up until 10 years ago, the idea was to practice… in the hope that you’d never have to play. The U.S. has now been engaged in the real stuff for over 10 years… which makes the whole idea of practice here in the States even more important.

Professional sports teams probably spend 3x to 10x more practice than they do actually playing the game. Think spring training, training camps and exhibition seasons… training, practices and workouts during the season.

Same with professional musicians. Symphonies and orchestras spend tons of time in practice… as well as practicing individually on their respective instruments. (Same is true of all artists and actors in theaters, movies, etc.)

In medicine, doctors and nurses spend a huge amount of time in practice, beginning with their medical schools and nursing schools through residency and internships, etc. Then, they practice and rehearse how to handle surgery or major trauma.

What is the ONE THING that we DO NOT DO in the not-for-profit/For Impact world? That’s right. PRACTICE.

We don’t take any time to get together as a team. We hate role playing. We ‘wing it’ every time we do go out and make visits (which is not very often).

Bottom Line: If you really want to have an Elite Team at your For Impact organization… you need to commit to PRACTICE! Call it training, continuing education, whatever.

I also firmly believe that this applies to your Blue Team (your IMPACT Team) as well as your Green Team (your INCOME Team).

I’ve been doing this kind of practice training with teams for over 30 years. I absolutely guarantee you that the ROI is a ridiculous 10x to 100x. I can actually give you cases where it’s been 1,000x within 24 to 48 hours.

Special Note: If you manage to read this whole thing, I would respectfully ask that you not use the following phrase with the For Impact | The Suddes Group Team.

“We really love your stuff. We just don’t have any money in the budget.”