My name is Lauren Rodriguez and I work for the Leadership Learning Community in Oakland, where Eugene is our awesome board chair! We are a nonprofit, trying to create a more just and equitable society by changing and challenging the way leadership development is conceived, conducted and evaluated.
I am very excited to be a part of Changemakers Bootcamp because I have been looking for an opportunity to take my own skills to the next level and build my confidence as a young professional of color in the nonprofit world and in the evaluation research field.
My project has already changed from the first meeting with Eugene! I went back to the LLC office to “tell all” about my learnings at boot camp, and after talking with our ED and Managing Director, realized that my efforts might be best used to help make a breakthrough in the ways that staff meetings are conducted. And how we can best utilize staff time together to optimize productivity.
At first I was unsure if I wanted to make this my boot camp project. We discussed that we would get started straight away! That I could really be innovative and experimental with our whole 1.5 hours of staff time. And then I got really interested… I reflected on some of the core components of staff meetings – we always start with a check-in, discussing content, getting caught up on cultivation projects.. I could go on but I am already bored! Why not change up our process to make staff meetings fun and a place to hash out ideas and get creative?
I had so many questions about changing our staff process around meetings and breaking out of our routines. Since we are a small staff (5 total), I think the biggest question for me is, “As a staff, how do we best utilize our time together to reach our organizational goals?”. This is a big question and I think it’s going to take a lot of trial and error and practice- hey aren’t these the central principles in our bootcamp??
To answer this question I realized that I am going to need patience and support of our staff as we try out new approaches and ideas. As of last Friday, I facilitated our first staff meeting, using a new approach and preparing at least one whole day in advance and being mindful of the agenda and time guidelines. As a staff we discussed how we want to use staff time and began to hash out ideas for working as a team together. We tackled 5 Team Agreement Questions that Eugene shared with LLC some time ago and structured our staff time to discuss:
What are my experience with teams?
What are my hopes and concerned about this team?
How will we manage team meetings?
How will we make decisions?
How will we work through conflict?
We also discussed what transparency looks like for our organization, what it looks like to each of us. So I do think we accomplished a lot!
This week we are going to address our organizational goals and how each of our individual goals maps out on each of these with a visual exercise. I look forward to building my skills as a facilitator and getting creative together as a team to tackle big ideas and solution.
I will sign off with a question: What are some of the techniques you have used to best utilize staff time and making breakthroughs as an organization?