February 23, 2015

Measure the goodness of a team

Optimist Clubs do many good things in the communities where they serve. From youth sports programs to scholarship contests, among other things, individuals are able to find their passion and make a difference by helping children in a purposeful way.

However, the true reason to join an Optimist Club is so that you can make friends and acquaintances that share your passions so that together, you can do more.

On Saturday, February 21, I attended the first leadership summit of 2015 for Optimist International. Designed for club presidents and members who want to help optimism grow in their communities, it focused on a number of leadership issues like conflict resolution, managing change, stages of leadership and team building.

During the team building session, the facilitator asked, why do we need a team? About fifty Optimists looked forward without an answer. I don't know if they were waiting for the presenter to tell them or if they were merely stumped for a reply, but finally, one of the younger attendees, a student and member of the University of California Santa Barbara Optimist Club spoke up to say, "We need a team to accomplish the things that we cannot do ourselves."

I think we often forget that. Teams are important for they allow us to accomplish more. Perhaps Gen X, Baby Boomers, and earlier generations don't recognize this because the dynamics of engagement were different as they matured. They grew up with an hierarchical culture that accepted orders whereas the younger generations are used to an open culture where individuals are equally accountable to themselves, the project on which they are working and their fellow-workers.

Both models work, and both models have their place; however, I propose that in a civic - social setting, the open team model is the best approach for it allows input at all levels of planning and implementation. It allows goodness to come forward first, last and in-between as team members work together to make things happen in their communities.

Optimist Clubs are truly about the team model. By forming committees and task forces, the groups within an Optimist Club conduct many more projects than an individual might conceive of alone. Together they provide a measurable difference and you can too when you join an Optimist Club.

Click here to find and join an Optimist Club in your community. If there is not one listed, please contact me and I'll help you start a new Optimist Club to help you spread goodness wherever you live.
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