At Our Best

At our best. It’s the basis of many of my favorite questions:

  • Who are you at your best?
  • What is this program at its best?
  • How does our team engage at our best?
  • What does our organization look like at our best?

If you have ever been in a staff or board retreat that I have led, you have likely been asked this question. You may even have been asked to pick a boat that represented the board, staff, or organization at its best.

Yes, a boat. On the wall – or more recently via a slide in Zoom – you will see pictures of a sailboat, a rowboat, a cruise ship, a submarine, and maybe even a boat with an alligator attacking it.

After the initial apprehension has passed of being asked to compare the board, staff, or organization to a boat…magic things happen.

Conversation flows. People dream. We start to hear language that describes us at our best.

The group who identified with the rowboat may say we are on calm waters moving towards our goal.

The group who identified with the sailboat may say we each have a unique role to play in making the boat get to its destination and we need to adjust course for outside factors such as wind and waves, but we are all skilled sailors and so we navigate it easily.

The group who picks the cruise ship may say there are a lot of people connected with us and they are enjoying themselves. The staff is trained to make the guests feel great.

And my personal favorite: the person who picks the boat with an alligator attacking it explaining, “I see the board’s job as slaying the alligators that are getting in the way of the staff to ensure the staff can stay focused on the mission and the vision of the organization.”

No matter how the conversation goes, it gets people dreaming about what can be created if we allow ourselves to dream who we are at our best. If your board or staff is ready to dream a little bigger, let’s find time for a board or staff retreat to help ensure the ship is moving in the right direction.

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