As I stood on a corner in lower Manhattan waiting for the light to change and listening to the city wake to a new day, it came back to me how this famous city was its own character in the HBO series Sex and the City. The richness, diversity, endless possibilities for conflict, and of course, history of the city were all dynamic literary elements used to enhance the seven-year story. As leaders, our moments of inspiration and clarity can come at the strangest times and places, and for me, this was one such moment.
Five days prior to my moment of remembrance, I spent an evening hosting a dinner for a group of former and current employees of our high school. During our three hours together guests laughed, cried, remembered and most of all showed they still cared a great deal about their school and the people with whom they once worked.
Now, hearing the honking of horns, watching an endless stream of people intently walk to work or cluster at the crosswalk, I saw a clear connection: just as the city of New York was written into the script as a character, so is our school a character in the script of our story.
What did we learn from our stories? We learned that our school, past and present staff, students and the community have all played an important role in launching, growing and maintaining an establishment that has continuously served its purpose, given back and not asked for anything in return.
As with any relationship there must be give-and-take, compromise and empathy. All have experienced a relationship that lacked mutuality, and most simply walked away from this relationship. When it comes to giving back to and recognizing our history, do we behave like the selfish friend we loathe?
By doing this, we keep the right story alive. Furthermore, knowing the story and being able to retell parts or the whole can act as a catalyst for change and provide leaders a tool to minimize fear and uncertainty.
As leaders part of our responsibilities include inspiring those we serve with stories that bring perspective to our current challenges. How do you keep your organizational stories alive?
Interested in being a guest blogger for The Willow Group? Contact Carrie Arnold for entry information.