by Sherri Goldman, Administrative and Finance Directorsherri

Recently the Mayyim Hayyim staff had a working retreat. Twice each year our team goes off-site for a day of bonding, building our team culture, contemplating our purpose and motives, and working on one or more specific goals. It’s a day where we are offered an opportunity to draw apart and reflect, share and dream of ways we can make Mayyim Hayyim even better, and ways we can make ourselves even better.

We were asked to come to the retreat prepared to discuss a professional challenge we were currently facing. I didn’t have to think much about what my professional challenge was. I feel very competent with my professional skills, but when it comes to writing a blog, I panic. I stare at my computer screen. I feel compelled to browse the internet. Writing for the Mayyim Hayyim blog was my professional challenge and I was game to volunteer myself for the retreat exercise – the Adaptive Leadership Case Consultation. With my blog post looming on the calendar, I think I jumped from my chair when Carrie asked, “Who wants to go first?”

We started by learning that the goal of an Adaptive Leadership Case Consultation is to work as a group to recognize challenges and find ways as a team to strategize and work together to find a solution. In summary, using the Power of the Mayyim Hayyim Staff.

Then I presented my case. I had four minutes to explain why I really don’t like writing a blog. I could have gone on for more than four minutes, but thank goodness there were consultation guidelines. My four minute presentation included:

  • I’m not witty.
  • My work can appear to some a bit boring in a financial spreadsheet kind of way.
  • Writing is hard work and takes a lot of time.
  • Only staff members with the most likes on the mayyimhayyimblog website should write blog posts.

The staff then asked clarifying questions. Possible question options included:

  • Who are the players and what are their relationships? – Me writing a blog for the Mayyim Hayyim community.
  • What has the presenter done so far to work the problem? – I read E.B. White’s Elements of Style when I was in college.
  • What has the presenter decided not to do? – Opting out of writing this blog was not an option.
  • What would success look like to the presenter? – That was easy, it would be this blog posting on the website – on my scheduled day.

The next portion of the consultation was Diagnostic and Action-based Brainstorming by all the staff. This was to offer ideas that I could rent vs. buy. The group suggested the following possibilities:

  • Even ideas that might seem non blog-worthy might be great blog posts.
  • Use an interview process with another staff member to formulate blog content.
  • Writing a blog is so helpful for others to understand what Mayyim Hayyim is about.
  • Other staff members also stress about writing the blog. And, some staff members love writing a blog and think it’s cool.

After listening to the brainstorming and feedback, I presented my reflections about what I had just heard and learned:

  • Ultimately what is challenging helps you grow, professionally and personally.
  • My perspective as a staff member is appreciated and people want to hear my unique viewpoint.
  • I have something to offer as a valued member of the Mayyim Hayyim staff.
  • Asking for help will get you help.

The Adaptive Leadership Case Consultation was a success! The Mayyim Hayyim staff worked together to foster collaboration and share insights and creative ideas to supportively work through my professional case of writer’s block for all the World Wide Web to read. Go Team! What a great and productive staff retreat.

“I admire anybody who has the guts to write anything at all.” E.B. White

Sherri joined the Mayyim Hayyim team in May, 2007. Sherri is responsible for managing Mayyim Hayyim’s financial and office operations, including accounts payable and accounts receivable, financial reporting, and building management. Sherri holds an M.B.A. from Suffolk University and is a registered Notary Public in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.