by Lori Kramer, Office Manager
One of the parts of the routine at Mayyim Hayyim I have come to look forward to is our every-other-week staff meetings. It is wonderful to hear what everyone else is working on, what education programs are upcoming, immersion stories, statistics, and strategic planning. I’ve learned so much about all the pieces it takes to make this organization run. That, in turn, has made my work feel more meaningful by seeing how my piece contributes to the bigger picture. I tend to be a details girl; I like to be behind the scenes, make things run smoothly, develop processes that are efficient and make people more productive.
The last half hour of our staff meeting is a shared responsibility. We rotate through the staff and plan a meaningful activity. Since I have joined the team, we have done everything from going for a walk outside while talking out a work challenge with a colleague, to a text study, to reflecting on our professional goals for the upcoming calendar year.
This week it was my turn to plan the half hour. I thought about activities I have done in past lives, both as a human resources professional and in the Jewish world. I focused in on a group dynamic activity called Zoom, which uses a wordless picture book of the same name by Istvan Banyai. It’s an engaging activity around group dynamics, communication and taking perspective. I handed out two pictures pulled directly from the book, to each member of our staff. I told them their task was to put the story in sequential order. The challenge: they could not show each other their pictures.
As an observer, the group dynamic that followed was fantastic. Everyone worked to share what they thought were the most important details of their pictures. With team-work and determination, they figured out the big picture idea that each picture zooms out from the last. Our staff successfully ordered the pictures, but more importantly, the conversation that followed was helpful in understanding how we work best as a team. We noted that, much like our day-to-day work at Mayyim Hayyim, things go well when we ask good questions and are thoughtful about the way we share information with each other. I can’t wait to see what we will do at the next staff meeting.
Lori Kramer comes from a Jewish camping background where group dynamics activities are one of her favorite things to plan and participate in. She often requires her husband, four children, the guinea pig and the lizard to participate in them around the dinner table at their home in Woonsocket, RI.