Passing go

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Posted by Administrator at 12/05/2019

IMG_0549In the midst of educating park maintenance staff over the years, I’ve used a technique that has proven beneficial for staff, leadership and myself in the same process. Sounds too good to be true? Think again. Short of any name for the process I just call it “Passing Go” – Those of you that have played or still play board games can relate.  Disclaimer: This process, as you will see, is predicated on your (or your supervisors) specific background and experience. Although the application is pretty universal to many areas within Parks & Recreation. The theory is simple, place yourself on the crew/environment for a day or two, whatever you can fit into your schedule to work WITH the staff as a crew member. Yes that may mean a different starting time, work clothes or even weekend work. You become part of the crew for the day doing the tasks that they would typically be assigned to or respond to. The response is immediate and educational for both sides. Staff will be amazed you took time out to “be one of them” for the day.  A new appreciation for the work can be cemented for both sides. I know I learned intimate details of the job and was able to understand why and how my decisions affected the outcome of the work productivity. It also helped me find out why certain tasks were either not done efficiently or not completed as expected. After doing this myself over time, different seasons and situations, it was invaluable to provide more efficient direction and the crews demonstrated a greater willingness & acceptance of daily directions. We also built a personal connection which was also a very unintended positive consequence. I still do this with my staff and have an ongoing, maintenance volunteer situation that I call my working vacation. I use two weeks of vacation each year to volunteer to be on the Little League World Series Grounds Crew. Yes I love this work and it helps keep me grounded (yes that is a pun). But over the years it has also taught me what it means to be part of a work crew, take direction and I almost always come away with a new maintenance technique I’ve picked up from another crew member that I can use back on my crews. So “Pass Go”, you might not collect $200, but the outcomes are well worth it.