Last week our town moderator Jonathan Kipp had our debrief meeting after the biggest, most unprecedented election in our history. Before Jonathan could even start our meeting, I said something to everyone like, "I know this sounds crazy, but I miss us all being together!"
In so many ways this was the biggest undertaking with which any of us had ever been involved. The national election was under a tremendous amount of scrutiny. Everyone looking for their "gotcha" moment in the sun to make national news, and then just toss in a worldwide pandemic. How much bigger can something get?
God bless all moderators and assistant moderators out there for being responsible for steering the ship and setting our course and direction each step of the way. Your town clerk and assistant clerks are responsible for processing everything leading up to the election, Supervisors of the Checklist for registering new voters and removing voters from the checklist, but then it is showtime for election officials around the country.
It felt as though we were working around the clock, which I know sounds like an exaggeration. The sleepless nights, worry, excitement, phone calls and planning that started months before.
In every team, there are usually members that you know well, and others that are somewhat new to the process — the new players. They bring their own expertise, yet they also need to be brought up to speed and trained. In those early meetings team members are checking each other out, wondering in their heads how is this going to go? Will it all work out? Is this the right team to get the project at hand done?
In the beginning, the team may have worries and doubts, but by the end, with the right team you become close and in many ways like a family for that moment in time.
At the start of our debriefing meeting, that's what I meant. I will miss our energy and synergy that was created while working together. Synergy is another great word. It basically means groups of people working together for something greater than what they can be alone. That's elections again! Police departments, ALERT teams, election officials, state offices all working together for the greater good.
I am missing that, too! The synergy of us all being together, no negativity, just amazing positive energy to be part of something that makes us American, making sure that every person has the right to vote and that our elections are fair and transparent at every level. You can understand why I am missing it!
Now back to the meeting. When I said I missed it all, Jonathan, who also teaches college classes and has worked in risk management and team training/building for years, said that is esprit! Jonathan had recently been discussing this with one of his classes. He explained to us that is it a real feeling that many have at the completion of a project. That it is also referred to as an adjourning phase or mourning phase. That's what I'm feeling!
In his teachings, he covers the five stages of team building. Esprit is the final one. "While people, team members, employees, feel successful that the task is done, they also feel disappointed that the experience is over." Team members get close and form relationships through the months of planning. This Sunday morning, I texted Jonathan for more information and he texted back, "Esprit is defined as spirit or energy. For our group, we shared a common spirit that inspired enthusiasm, devotion and a strong regard for the honor of the group."
I wonder if this has got you thinking about a group you were part of through life and when it was over you felt this way, too. I have a feeling that's how we might feel after planning a wedding with Meredith and Matt. I think it can be applied to many team efforts in our lives. Makes you wonder what the next team project will be that we are involved with.
I said to our group that I guess it will give me more time, nights, weekends, to get back to reading and working on my puzzles. By the way, on a side note, the New Hampshire one that was boxed wrong, of course, one piece is missing. Perfectly imperfect again.
I had planned to tell you about a few great books that you may even want to add to your Christmas list for people, but let's save that for next week. One ties right into the idea of esprit, too. I'll give you a hint on that one — it was written by Robert Clark, the son of our own Reed and Phyllis Clark of Londonderry, and it's called "Resilient Leadership."
John and I were honored to hear Rob speak at the Rotary Club and I have been wanting to tell you about the things I learned ever since. Talk about a gifted presenter!
When I think of the words esprit and synergy, that is our Rotary clubs across the world. When they finish one project to help their communities, they move on to the next one together.
Our local Rotary needs our help. The "Rotary Saves Christmas" raffle is here. Tickets are $10 each or three for $25. The prizes are big, first prize is $2,000; second and third prize is $500. Every dollar goes to support local charitable causes. Please help me to help this great group of humble servants. I have a bunch of tickets for sale. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call or text me at 603-512-5596 and John and I will deliver tickets to your home. If it's not a good time for you to buy one, helping me spread the word to others is a huge help, too. We are all in this together.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry Town Clerk and a longtime resident of New Hampshire.