In recent months, CSJ Ministries has been designing a bouquet of professional development experiences for our leaders. One that stands out is a group read. At convocation in October, we provided a copy of Margaret Heffernan’s book “Beyond Measure: The Big Impact of Small Changes” to each ministry leader. Following Convocation, we hosted monthly book calls to talk about topics covered in individual chapters. Many of you have taken an extra step. You have shared the book and its themes with teams and boards in order to accelerate change in your organization. We hope that all of you are finding the tool helpful in your work.
As you move through this busy season and into summer, we would like to offer a few ideas, based on the material in Heffernan’s book:
Crunch – Then Detox. “Crunch Time” is common in your work. With a diverse array of ministries, what defines “Crunch Time” varies. Wherever you work, it cannot always be “Crunch Time”. Crunch can become addictive. Some of the creative ways that leaders interviewed by Heffernan find to detox , rest and restore include the following – Identify a sizable chunk of time when you will stop working altogether. A sizeable chunk of time may mean one week. Do try to find a time to step away. Another idea: Do not check e-mails outside of office hours (perhaps this will work for you when it’s not “Crunch Time”). You might occasionally leave your laptop at work.
A strategy that Heffernan herself employs is to make it a point to read only fiction during the summer. In so doing, she supports the theory that those people who read literary fiction do better on an Emotional Intelligence test than those who only read non-fiction.
Build Social Capital during summer months. Social capital consists of trust, knowledge, reciprocity, and shared norms that create quality of life and make a group resilient. In any organization, you can have a brilliant bunch of individuals. But, what prompts them to share ideas and concerns and contribute to thinking is social capital.
So, what can you do in your ministry to build more social capital? Perhaps a social outing with your team – a social hour at the end of the week at a local establishment. Pull tables together and share some great stories about your work. Participate in an outdoor volunteer project together. Attend a ballgame or an outdoor concert.
The greater your social capital, the greater the likelihood that you will keep people engaged and listening in times of frustration, confusion and doubt!