I’m very impressed with the way the Sisters of Mercy create a work environment that meshes with their mission statement and what they call their direction statement, or priorities for their international community.
For instance, our three-member Justice Team met today with our liaisons with the leadership of this international congregation of Roman Catholic nuns. They were more interested in talking about how we are working together and building our team than they were in the actual projects we’re involved in.
They expressed how they were glad to see me, only on board a week, and another team member huddled together working intently on an action alert to go out on the website about the School of the Americas. And they wanted to make sure we don’t take such communication and collaboration for granted, but continue to nurture it and build on it. Indeed, we have scheduled as a team a couple of two-day retreats to work on team building and long-term planning, and the leadership encouraged this.
When I commented on how this emphasis impressed me, they explained that if they stress in their statements the need for reflection and right relationships, they need to model that within the leadership office itself. Then I learned that the leadership team, made up of five Sisters of Mercy elected to a term of office to oversee the whole congregation of nearly 5,000 nuns, takes an hour together for contemplation one morning a week.
Our own Justice Team plays this out with a weekly morning check-in where we not only update one another on our activities, but also how we’re doing personally.
I agree with one of the leaders that such reflective times and relationship nurturing don’t merely create pleasant work environments, but also a path toward long-term effectiveness in accomplishing our common mission.