S.O.D.A. Teams – Characteristics of Extraordinary Groups

S.O.D.A. teams have completely changed the way we do activities and events at my school.  By organizing my leaders according to SODA teams, I have come to realize that we are tapping into 8 of the 8 characters of Extraordinary Groups according to authors Geoffrey Bellman and Kathleen Ryan.  In their book entitled Extraordinary Groups they suggest there are 8 things that create successful groups:

  1. A compelling purpose that inspires and stretches members to make the group and its work a top priority.  (SODA teams provide each group with a very specific purpose.)
  2. Shared leadership that encourages members to take mutual responsibility for helping the group be successful.  (SODA teams provides each member of the group to operate within their areas of strengths, thus sharing leadership across the board.)
  3. Just-enough-structure to create confidence to move forward, but not so much that creativity is lost.  (SODA teams bring structure to a Leadership Program, but with this structure team members have virtually unlimited freedom to be creative.)
  4. Full engagement that results in all members jumping in with enthusiasm.  (Once again the SODA team structure allows student leaders to function within the areas that they are passionate about, thus resulting in increased commitment and enthusiasm.)
  5. Embracing differences so that group members see, value, and use their diversity as a strength.  (Within the SODA teams, members all bring a part of themselves to each of the groups, thus creating well balanced and well rounded teams)
  6. Unexpected learning that translates into personal and group growth.  (SODA teams allow each member and each team the ability to tackle projects independently from the advisor.  With this freedom, students will often times learn real world application as they struggle to overcome obstacles dealing with event planning, relationships, dealing with vendors, and meeting with administration)
  7. Strengthened relationships among members characterized by trust, collaboration, and friendship.  (SODA teams work together on projects, have team time every week in class, plan team bonding nights…all this leads to high levels of trust, collaboration, and friendships)
  8. Great results!  (SODA teams are producing better results then I’ve ever since in the past 15 years.  I’ve had committees, commissioners, sign ups, etc…and nothing has been more effective than the SODA team structure.)

Questions to Consider:

  • How effective is your classroom structure?  Are your teams, committees, groups producing great results?
  • Is each leader in your program making a contribution to class, campus, and community?  Why or why not?
  • Do you student leaders have a sense of purpose, shared leadership among them, and are they full engaged?


We have a SOUND/SPIRIT team that creates stories by what others HEAR. 

Members of this team are responsible for playing music at all sporting events and ASB activities.  Also members are in charge of creating weekly videos, taking pictures at events, creating specific playlist and speaking on the microphone.  Lastly, this team is responsible for creating spirit and leading the student section.

We have an OUTREACH team that creates stories by how they make others FEEL. 

Members of this team are responsible for weekly Staff, Athletic, Academic, Activity, and Community appreciation or service.  Members should be caring, thoughtful, and into making others feel valued.  Some of the tasks you would be involved with include: athletic encouragements, academic luncheons, random acts of kindness, writing thank you notes, and helping students and staff feel appreciated.

We have a DESIGN team that creates stories by what others SEE.

Members of this team will be responsible for promoting events, decorating events, and posting on social media.  Members should be artistic, creative, and familiar with social media.  Some of the tasks you would be involved with include: decorating dances, rallies, painting poster, creating flyers, scrap-booking, posting on social media, and visiting classrooms.

We have an ACTIVITIES team that creates stories by what others DO.

Members of this team will be responsible for creating, planning, organizing, and running the majority of events and activities on campus.  Members should be creative, organized, committed to ASB above other things, willing to work after-school, spirited and hard-working.