We have a relatively new group at work called Reflection Connection that has been meeting monthly since June. This group started when a coworker suggested holding a discussion about the book, 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, which we were required to read. We had a good conversation and decided to continue because, as another colleague commented, it’s always good to stop and reflect now and then, hence the name of the group.
I took it upon myself to set a topic for the second discussion, which was “inspiration;” however, after a completely uninspiring month, I totally dropped the ball, but we met anyway. Thankfully, my coworker came prepared, and we ended up having a great discussion about what it means to be “happy” within the context of work and outside of work, as well.
At our last meeting, we talked about how some of us are almost exclusively internal employees with very little contact with member library staff; how some of us have a lot of contact with member library staff; and how some of us interact directly with patrons (the Bookmobile team) as well as other external stakeholders and how these different dynamics inform our various perspectives about what we do and why.
We have had some great conversations, and they aren’t the kind that generally come out of scheduled all-staff meetings, which have agendas and time allotments per topic. We meet over a lunch hour and the conversation usually evolves organically. In fact, the beauty of it is that it’s not formatted or planned. There is great value in conversation for conversation’s sake, even (especially?) among people who spend many hours together over the course of a year but rarely talk together informally as a group.
There are about 22 of us at the System. We have had anywhere from 5-7 attendees at our monthly lunch discussions. We had the highest attendance at the first meeting, and I suspect that is because Ed brought pie (and posed some very insightful questions for discussion). We schedule the meetings and post various topics of potential interest via our organization’s social network–yes, we have one.
Reflection Connection type discussions are not for everyone. And it’s nice to have a small group that encourages participation by those who attend. However, I hope that it evolves to the point where it is an expected, anticipated, open forum that entices everyone, at some point, schedules permitting. I would like to see it become a forum for putting words and thoughts into action even if the “action” is simply continuing to think about what was said, who said it, and why.
Never underestimate the power of reflection.