Chapter 16.  The Huddle for All Staff:

Teamwork and Best Practices

 

The things that will destroy us are:  politics without principle;  pleasure without conscience;  wealth without work; knowledge without character;  business without morality;  science without humanity;  and worship without sacrifice. 

Mahatma Gandhi,
humanitarian and spiritual and political leader

 Challenges

Teamwork and Best Practices

Other Best Practices

 

 

Challenges

 

What are our challenges?

 

·       Having as large a number of newsletter recipients as possible.
 
·       Motivating recipients to open the newsletter.
 
·       Keeping the newsletter serious so that recipients take it seriously, yet entertaining so that recipients 
read all of it.
 
·       Motivating recipients to use the features of the newsletter.
 
·       Fulfilling the goals of the newsletter, namely, (1) to improve the quality of life in the community by 
teaching e-mail recipients and staff members, as well as enabling them to practice, self-reliance, 
selflessness, and sustainable solutions;  and (2) to strengthen the college, scholarship and job applications 
of staff members.
 
·       Having an income which will enable E-News to continue to be of service to the community and to 
start up in other communities.
 
Why will we meet these challenges successfully?
 
·       We work in teams and we look after one another.  This includes sharing information at weekly staff 
meetings.
 
·       We look for new ways to meet challenges.  We are introducing innovations, namely, the public 
advisory vote, online community lessons, and the open suggestion box.
 
·       Our goals are just and will be supported by others.

 

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Teamwork and Best Practices

The information here, about teamwork and some best practices, is taken from a staff meeting. 

How to Be Sure That We Succeed 

1. Our newsletter is not a customary community project for high schoolers, because we expect more personal responsibility and initiative from each person.  The newsletter teacher, like a band director, teaches, advises, approves.  But unlike a band director, the teacher steps back to let staff schedule and run the newsletter.  This means that 

1.1 without being reminded, team leaders take the initiative to call team  meetings, which should be at least once a week; 

1.2 when one activity is finished, team leaders are to arrange the next activity, getting the teacher’s advice but not waiting for the teacher to say what to do;  our goals are for staff to run everything and to publish a quality newsletter every week; 

1.3 team leaders should look at their respective teams as a resource and assign activities;  leaders should not  do all team activities, as that would be too much;  if every team member knows what to do and does it on time, we will not miss deadlines and we will publish a quality newsletter every week; 

1.4 every team has a checklist and chart ** to help decide who does what and, importantly, who the backup is in case somebody not be able to do her / his activities;  if we had filled and followed the checklist and chart, we should not have missed the deadline for the first issue of the newsletter;   

1.5 we should think “concurrently”, not “consecutively”;  this means that a team should be divided into squads and each squad should be doing something all the time, without waiting for other squads to finish their activities;  in this way, no time is lost; 

1.6 everyone on our newsletter staff should communicate with everyone else in two ways about upcoming meetings and deadlines:  e-mail and telephone;  this means that everyone should check his or her school e-mail account at least twice a day, including on weekends;  for team members who do not have e-mail at home, team leaders and fellow team members must call them;  team leaders must have school e-mail addresses and telephone numbers for all team members;   

1.7 opportunities should not be neglected;  example: if a member of team 1 is in a school club which is having a community event, that event must be announced in an upcoming issue of E-News;  if a member of team 7 is in a club and a speaker from a community organization is to come to a club meeting, the member should arrange to talk with the speaker before or after the meeting; 

1.8 while it is not customary among high schoolers, everyone on our staff should keep a personal calendar and not depend on somebody else to remind him or her;  forgetting or missing a deadline can annoy or hurt others; 

1.9 if there is a question or difficulty, a team member should immediately, immediately, contact a team leader;  if a satisfactory answer cannot be had immediately, then she or he should contact team 4; 

1.10 there will be a weekly staff meeting, at which each team will report briefly about its activities, including, if applicable, (a) who has been contacted and how, (b) what happened, and (c) who is to be contacted, as other teams might need that information;  if a team cannot attend, it must send a report to team 4 in advance of the weekly staff meeting.

2. Monday is the deadline for getting copy to team 6, which should quickly be in contact with any team missing the deadline. Once that is done, every team which is to provide copy starts working on copy for next Monday. 

** See chapters 6 through 14 for checklists and charts.

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 Other Best Practices

E-News is more than a tool for use by people in a community to improve the community.  Our newsletter is meant to be a model of best practices.  Apart from the best practices tied to teamwork, detailed above, there are several other best practices:   

·       self-sufficiency;  by this we mean that our newsletter, our social venture, would provide a service or product for which the public, a government agency, a nonprofit organization, a public institution or another business would pay willingly;  this means that those who pay will do so because of the value of what we offer, not because of who we are; 

·       inclusion;  this refers to involving as many people as possible in the newsletter;  this does not mean that the whole community would have to be involved, but, rather, that we would continue to find ways to involve as many people as possible;  people would know of our plans and operations because we would post this textbook and other information at the E-News Web site;  team 4 would periodically seek comments from sponsors, while team 10 would have the open suggestion box for the public, so that we improve and stay attuned;      

·       openness and transparency;   our  minutes, income, and expenses are posted on the Internet for all to see;  even our contracts are posted;  but, of course, some things are not put on the Internet, like personal matters involving team members or negotiations to reach a compromise, although the terms of a compromise should be displayed;  

·       the “90% quorum” rule;  we might have a profound impact on democracy by using this best practice;  too often, government agencies and nonprofit organizations content themselves with a mere majority to conduct business;  we will be “raising the bar”, setting a high standard; 

·       the rule means that 90% of the people entitled to vote must vote for a decision to be made;  this rule does not mean that 90% must vote in favor, only that 90% must participate;  imagine what this could do to increase voter participation if this were incorporated into official elections; 

·       the “tithing” rule;   “tithing” is giving 10% to charity;  in some religions, “tithing” is fundamental;  as long as we not go into debt doing so, a best practice is for our newsletter to tithe from our gross income and to go two steps farther:  (a) to choose charities which would make the most of a tithe [most “bang for the buck”, most community good ], (b) to require accountability [like the best practice of openness and transparency];  we will tithe and ensure that the money be spent well by transferring 10% of gross income into a community fund, mentioned in chapter 10.        

          There are six other best practices, adopted from the program of the Josephson Institute of Ethics:  trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.  These six practices are for each member of our staff and become an example for youth and adults in our community.  Definitions can be found at www.josephsoninstitute.org/MED/MED-2sixpillars.htm. 

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