Shep Englander — Federation Journal
Fundamental #3: Take Ownership
For the better part of two years, our Federation team has been making a deliberate effort to define what drives our work and how we do it. The four core values of Community, Inclusivity, Learning, and Integrity rose to the top. The next step was to identify a list of fundamentals: actionable, daily core behaviors that bring our core values to life and define our culture. Each week, we make a point to focus on practicing a different fundamental, and I kick off that effort by sharing my thoughts on each one at the beginning of each week. Here are my thoughts for our third week:
Fundamental #3: TAKE OWNERSHIP. Take personal responsibility for making things happen – somehow, someway. Respond to every situation by looking for how we can do it, rather than explaining why it can’t be done. Be resourceful and show initiative.
Last week, I walked into the building around 7am and Mary Ann Madgett sitting at the JCC’s front desk. I told her I didn’t know that was in her job description. She said that it wasn’t but that she saw that one person struggling to staff the Front Desk and the Fitness Staff downstairs simultaneously, so she jumped in.
I was impressed but not that surprised because every week I see members of our staff taking charge of tasks that are not necessarily in their job descriptions. These may be core projects and or just creative ways to make this a better place to work—from Chai Committee activities to “Lunch and Learn” programs to Salad Days to the spontaneous celebrations of Kerry’s conversion. I love seeing colleagues take charge like this.
This morning, the FRD Team discussed this Fundamental –Taking Ownership. Felicia mentioned that any of us could be approached by a volunteer about an issue beyond of our job description. The FRD Team agreed that because each of us are seen as a representative of the Federation, it’s better to take ownership anyway. We may sometimes end up apologizing for things we never knew happened!
I’m proud that our staff is so responsible that we can take this principle too far. So sometimes we also have to remind each other when it makes sense to ask our colleagues for help or to delegate.