The days are getting longer and warmer; kids are getting out of school, and the season of family reunions, picnics and long days at the beach are upon us. Relaxed, convivial afternoons will stretch into evenings as families and friends sit together, sharing meals, stories and laughter. The food will be great, because everyone’s brought their special dish to the party – the salads and casseroles and baked goods that we all look forward to sharing because they’re made with care and seasoned with love. Put together on the table, they make a meal greater than the sum of its wonderful parts – a meal that just couldn’t have happened if one person had been in charge.
Working together is a lot like that, isn’t it? Although we may be in the same organization, moving in the same direction, we’re still individuals, and each of us brings our particular, unique addition to the mix, our individual contribution that makes the whole thing work. That strength is like our signature dish – the thing people remember about us. And like a great potato salad, our contribution doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy – it just has to be good. That’s what makes a great family picnic - or a healthy and dynamic work environment.
What do you bring to the table in your organization? Maybe you’re the peacemaker – the person who can listen to all sides and bring others together to find common ground. Maybe you’re the one who can break up the room with a well-timed joke when tensions are high, or the nurturing person others come to when their burdens are weighing heavy on them; the one who can be counted on to listen and support. You could be the innovator – the one who’s willing and ready to shake things up with a new way of approaching an old problem. Are you the cheerleader who keeps spirits up when others around you are flagging? Are you the visionary who can see the big picture when everyone else is stuck on details, and keep everyone moving together in the right direction? The Energizer Bunny whose enthusiasm and can-do attitude inspires your colleagues to greater efforts? The calm and steady rock in a storm?
Each of us is unique, and brings something different to the table – and that mix of strengths makes us greater and more effective as a group than we are as individuals. Know what your “special dish” is – and present it with love and pride. Others are counting on you – probably much more than you know, even if what you offer seems as humble as potato salad!
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Image Below: Summertime fun with my friend Christy Whitney Bourchard on my 13 Ft Boston Whaler!