Strategic Thinking and “Wiggle Room” at CCS

Principal Maylanne Maybee writes:

Once every three or four months, the CCS staff team holds a longer than usual meeting that includes lunch, and allows us to delve more deeply into issues we want to address in common.

We did just that last week. Our purpose was to reflect on the realities of being a staff team “with very little wiggle room” to absorb personal or organizational crises, to balance our many-layered and complex workloads, to do justice to the routine tasks in our job descriptions.

The process was brilliant – and should be copyrighted for other staff teams! As a preparation, each of us – Ann, Ted, Scott, Marc, Liz, and I – took our job description and summarized it into main headings. We also attached our picture as a way of linking an abstract job description with a real human being. At the meeting, with help from the SMART board, we took turns giving a general description of our work, sometimes making comments or a time percentages.
We then went around saying what gives us energy and what drains our energy in our work, attaching stars and “X” marks and other graffiti to our job summaries as we spoke.

The best part of the day was responding to what we heard from each other: what we observed, what was missing, what surprised us, what we affirmed.
It was an exercise that invited risk, built trust, and offered very valuable information about each other’s responsibilities and areas of strength and struggle. We ended with a commitment to recommend changes to the HR Committee in our job descriptions where needed, and to hold each other to account for doing the “important but not urgent” work that often gets neglected.

This week, at least, we did NOT neglect the important but not always urgent work of living out or staff mission statement: “Sharing a commitment to CCS, the staff will value and risk mutual encouragement, support, and deep reflection in a spirit of trust, laughter, and a sense of the sacred.”