I’ve been thinking about our last staff retreat. We were highly focused on the first day and showed up in a state of disarray on the second. Our offsite participants were not on Zoom. One person groaned and grabbed her head as she entered the room. Another (who was supposed to lead the first part of the morning) was two minutes late and hadn’t communicated to Doug. 

Business-as-usual shows up as waiting for something to happen or expecting we’ll take time to “catch up”. But as a leader who is committed to causing breakthroughs, Doug said, “There is insufficient listening for me to do what I want to do.” And I heard, I expect you to come to this retreat ready to contribute. You need to be responsible for producing the results we came here to produce.

Doug’s willingness to speak up reminded us that it’s our job to pull ourselves together immediately because we understand that breakthroughs aren’t poured into us like a high protein shake. We create them together. They require all of us to be active participants, tuned into the results we’re out to accomplish. 

It was a problem that one of our staff members had a migraine. None of us (except Doug) related to Alice Lyle’s headache as something that affected the whole group… Even though we spent more than a year distinguishing the relationship between wellbeing and effectiveness…. Even though she was responsible for leading  part of the retreat. 

What affects one affects us all

We said whatever we said to Alice-Lyle one-on-one. But none of us initiated a conversation about the integrity of the retreat in light of her trying to power through a migraine. I’m looking at that sentence trying to figure out what is “story” and what is “fact.”

  1. We have a commitment to wellbeing. 
  2. We invested in bringing staff together for a 2 day retreat whose purpose was to cause a breakthrough in our performance.  

Not only did Doug challenge us to honor both commitments, he suggested that we could be “cause in the matter” of Alice-Lyle’s wellbeing. That was not somewhere I was looking or something I was thinking. Doug pushed beyond my “reasonableness” to look for where I was gliding along as if something were handled. 

That gives me another place to be two-headed:  What if “Ain’t nothing handled” and “All is well.” What can I create now?