Summer Break for your team

Summer has arrived here in Central Texas and everyone is heading for the lake. That prospect of personal renewal causes me to think about the importance of organizational renewal.

In Central Texas, we’re blessed by the presence of many tempting rivers and lakes to draw us out to play. We are individually refreshed and renewed by the time spent with families and friends, enjoying nature and each other’s company. Does your organization get similar renewal time?

Organizational renewal pays off in many ways. Here are just three.

Creativity and innovation. Old problems look different in a new light. Stuck situations become unstuck. When you find yourself pushing the same rock uphill, it’s a sure sign that either personal or organizational renewal is in order.

Customer satisfaction. Your team members can’t treat customers any better than they are being treated. A routine flight on Southwest Airlines often becomes a fun experience. Why? Because the employees are having fun. Create a space for renewal and your customers will benefit.

Discretionary effort. Taking time to reinvigorate the organization gives team members a clean slate for their contributions. They will be more willing and able to go beyond the call of duty.. Your organization will benefit from having their full measure of engagement instead of the minimally-required effort.

If you’re persuaded that organizational renewal is a good idea, look for small opportunities to create a real break from the routine for everyone. For example, try a day of foolishness. Let your team determine what “foolishness” really means. A picnic and Frisbee golf at your local city park – maybe Zilker if you’re in Austin. A day of water play, for example tubing down the Guadalupe here in Texas? Find something that you can do together that is easy and light-hearted. If possible, hire temps to handle the phones and close the office. If that’s not possible, trade coverage with another team in your organization and do this one team at a time. Be sure it’s not just an individual day off but a real break for the entire group.

Teachers know that both they and their students come back from summer vacation with a fresh excitement for the new year. Find a way to give your organization a true summer break and see how much more productive you are afterward.

Action Tip:  Try doing volunteer work together. Do something meaningful as a team. Pack food items at the your local Foodbank. Build a house with Habitat for Humanity. This gives you a change from the routine and a feeling that you’ve made a difference for the community.