As I travel the world meeting the team I work with, I am struck by the emerging themes that transcend culture and demographics. One of the themes is a fundamental one with two parts. First, people want to be known for who s/he is. Second, people want to be asked, invited, and given the opportunity to do more.
Without comment on the shoes and steps before me, it is a fun process. It begins with the opportunity to ask to hear stories. For each, there is a variation on a direct request; tell me your story. In listening, I find myself relating in many different ways to the individuals I have the privilege of working with. So far, there is a unique part of each story. One never knows where it will begin or the road that it will travel. The act of listening always has a surprising twist or turn.
Inevitably, I am asked to share where I think we are going. I rarely plan what I am going to say in advance. I know the themes that I will share. Every individual has something to offer. S/he can see what I cannot. S/he has something wonderfully unique that can make a difference in our work to serve our clients. Every individual has the potential to do more than s/he is doing. I get to remind them that the opportunity is within their reach. I also talk about my accountability is clearing the way. It is a door that can open or close with their choice. Everything individual is more important than the group or the company. Whatever our mission, the highest purpose we can hold onto is that of helping the other.
As I think of the stories I have heard, I am reminded of those before me that gave me this model. Then, I told my story and listened to their words. I hope others will respond to the divine voice expressed by mentors in our journeys; “I answered, ‘I’m coming. I read in your letter what you wrote about me.’” (Psalm 40.7)