I think deeply – and often – about my role in bringing about the world we want to live in.
What I don’t think about as much is how to nurture the “we” in bringing about this vision.
My sabbatical during the month of September was both a chance for me to re-charge – and an opportunity for the Cause Effective team to spread its wings.
I travelled 4,000 miles away, and deliberately took my work email off my phone. My staff asked that we not hire an external temporary executive director, but to let them work together as a team to problem-solve, serve as the voice of the organization, and lead. We carefully divided up my duties, Cause Effective’s board agreed to step up to the plate, and I got on the plane.
It was a time of growth for everyone. I can see that the level of the staff’s commitment, the breath of fresh air, and the deepened enjoyment of Cause Effective’s impact that took place while I was gone, has stayed with our strengthened team.
I believe it’s good to change up how things get done. And it’s equitable to give folks a different role to play in the organization’s success.
In a small, 9-person core staff, everyone received a modest bonus for shouldering the burden while I was gone. While the money was certainly welcome, people also felt pride in their new roles and ability to collaborate together in a different way. They held each other accountable – and most importantly, their attention was focused laterally (on each other), rather than hierarchically (on me).
This is good.
There’s an important principle at work here for Cause Effective, and for all of us, that “no-one is indispensable,” nor so irreplaceable that they can’t be accorded the respect to take time to recharge. Everyone needs to feel valued – and providing the space to grow, both for those on sabbatical and for those holding down the fort, offers an opportunity for everyone to flourish.
We learned a valuable lesson about how, in nurturing the I, we built the we at Cause Effective.