The A/C in the office was broken. The windows couldn’t open. We were working from 8:30am until midnight every night. It was the middle of the summer. My only volunteers were little old ladies who didn’t want to make phone calls.
After weeks of having my little old ladies put together yard signs (which wasn’t all that helpful), I had a brainstorm. Every week, I needed to put together walk packets for my canvassers (a list of all the houses my door knockers should visit and which voters they should talk to, as well as Google map directions to the assigned neighborhood). What if I had my little old ladies (who really wanted to stuff envelopes) put together the walk packets?
I grabbed a whiteboard to draw out instructions and all of the walk packet materials (and a fan!), and I set up a walk packet station. I gathered the ladies in the office and walked them through my instructions and asked them what they thought. They were excited. They appreciated that I had listened to them about their abilities and interests, and I found something meaningful for them to contribute.
And contribute they did! Fast-forward a few months, and my 2-3 little old ladies had turned into an army. They took over a room in our office, nicknamed Packet Land, and went from compiling 50 packets in a week to compiling roughly 500 per week. Without their dedication and attention to detail, there’s no way we would have been ready for Election Day.
The Packet Land experiment taught me an important lesson: everyone has something to add to the team. It’s crucial to figure out someone’s strengths and leverage them. When we’re all doing the thing we’re best at, our team is stronger as a whole.
Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.