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JCC State of Mind – May 3, 2024

Posted by Admin on May 3, 2024

Last summer, as I was preparing for my new role as CEO, I went on a listening tour across our leadership team and asked what could be done to make our team meetings more effective. The responses primarily fell into three buckets – cadence, content and culture. As I was preparing to present my findings to the team, it struck me that I had not been ambitious enough in asking my question. Instead of simply focusing on how to make our team meetings more effective, I should have asked what could be done to make our leadership team as a whole more effective.

Following a number of subsequent conversations with the team, we devised a five-pronged approach to not only the different ways in which we would interact with one another but the variety of use cases we hoped to be able to address as efficiently and productively as possible, such as keeping each other informed on what happens across the agency, real-time problem solving, professional development and building stronger connections with one another. Earlier this week we put one of the components of our approach – team retreats – into use for the first time.

It was important for this retreat to be more than just a break from our day-to-day responsibilities. Rather, it was intentionally designed for our leadership team to come together, bond and strategize on our future work. We explored new ideas, identified areas for improvement and reaffirmed our commitment to serving our colleagues at the JCC and the community with excellence and integrity. We even adopted a theme song for our time together – Rise by Calum Scott, which according to the artist, “…celebrates overcoming, defeating the odds, and prevailing despite the obstacles or the knock-backs you face along the way.”

We engaged in meaningful discussion, recognizing our work as a journey with no defined end point and how important it is not to be afraid to be wrong. One team member exquisitely stated, “As long as you don’t have to be right you can be better.” We reviewed tools to streamline and better inform our work and talked about how best to roll out the tools across the organization. We dug deep into the inevitability of conflict among the team and developing a conflict competence to help us best navigate and benefit from conflict. We acknowledged that good leaders don’t get the luxury of choosing between compassion and accountability; in fact, they have to do both.

One of the most valuable aspects of the retreat was the opportunity for open and honest communication among our team. We shared our perspectives, listened to each other’s feedback and strengthened the trust we have for one another.

As we return from the retreat, rejuvenated and inspired, I want to assure you that our leadership team is more committed than ever to serving the diverse needs of our community. We are excited to implement the insights and strategies we developed during the retreat, and we look forward to creating a lifetime’s worth of powerful moments and positive experiences for you to benefit from.

Wishing you and your families a Shabbat shalom,


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