Come on Team – Let’s Build it!


Come on Team – Let’s Build it!

Last weekend, my family decided to take on an outdoor project.  After many days of rainy weather, I think we were all looking for a way to get outside and create something together. We built a firepit in our backyard and an area around it to sit and gather.  To create this area, in my opinion, was not for the weary.  My husband led the charge with the plans and the rest of us soldiered on as extra hands.  We hauled a LOT of rocks, 40 bags of slate, that in total, weighed more than a 1200 pounds.  It was a lot of heavy-lifting…sweat and muscle really went into the project.

Did we have some challenges? Yes. We needed rocks…WAY more rocks that we realized.  We needed to make-do with a tamper that was well-loved and not quite up to the task. We had a few spills of cement and a wheel-barrow full of rocks fall over before it reached its final destination. Yet, despite some of the roadblocks, when we were all done, we all felt so satisfied.  We built something beautiful, we stuck to the plan as best as we could, and we preserved until it was finished.  We raised a glass and patted each other on the back for a job well done and a team that worked well together.

So, you might wonder, what does this have to do with our work as development officers? Well, it’s about team work and how we set about to accomplish our current tasks and goals.  What is the role of the team at work – now in these new shelter in place times? Our Executive Director? Our Program Staff? The Board Chair? Our various committee members? How is each member of the team’s work now different than before?

During these shelter in place times, we have all had to be nimble and wear a variety of hats…even some new ones.  We aren’t collaborating and meeting face to face, but now rather operating through Zoom meetings, phone calls and emails.  Some of our priorities are shifting and changing as a result of a virus that is forcing us to do things differently, change gears quickly, be nimble and make adjustments, sometimes daily.

I suspect you are seeing more collaboration, more creativity, and overall, more help extended to get the job done to fulfill the mission of the work of the organization. I know this time isn’t easy, and there are days when the worry and stress level is high.  Big worries, like loss of revenue, or for some, will we be able to stay open to serve those that need us? Yet, even at those times, I notice more humor, more compassion and more understanding.  More creative planning and more conversations that we never anticipated.

What new things will we take with us when the world shifts back to the way we once knew it? So, for today, take time to reflect on your team working together in a different way – accomplishing things in a new way.  This is yet another silver living during these challenging times. For now, for today, I say…Applaud it. Celebrate it.

by: Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant HPS Chicago

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