I had one of those rare moments last night where I was mildly dreading something and then was pleasantly surprised. I love those moments. And, I especially love them when they have to do with engaging volunteers.
Here I was, walking to a meeting (that we scheduled on a national holiday), thinking – no one is going to show up. I’ve definitely held meetings where I was the only person there (ok, usually one person showed up, but still), so this wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. But, see…we’d sort of half-heartedly applied for grant-funding for this project, and we got the grant. That means if no one shows up, I’m stuck trying to figure out how we spend the money (or reluctantly give it back).
Luckily, I didn’t have to figure any of that out. Our meeting was scheduled for about an hour – it lasted two. Usually, I’d say that was a sign of a poorly planned meeting, but we seemed to thrive on brainstorming while still moving toward concrete plans and goals. When was the last time you worked on an engaged and effective team? I’ll venture to say that it doesn’t happen to most people every day (or even every year, hell). Now, our team has a plan – a good one. We’ve identified solid partners and tentative goals. We even have money!!
The real question now is, “What is the key to this success?” I feel like every time I have a blissful team moment, I completely fail to identify what made it work so well. You can come up with all kinds of reasons – attitudes, timing, expertise, a spirit of collaboration, free pizza, coercion, etc. And sure, sometimes you need those things to work well together, but I’ve certainly had them before and ended up with a project disaster.
It’s late and I’m tired, so I’ll leave it at that. But, if anyone knows the silver bullet that makes people come together, take on appropriate roles, treat each other kindly, and effectively reach results…shoot your thoughts over to me!