Importance of Community in Tough Times

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It’s no secret that we are headed into some uncertain times in the near future regarding our divisional and campus budgets. Many of us, including the GO BIG team members, have our own personal concerns about what is to come. Change brings the unknown. Some of us may choose to disengage, others may catastrophize, and some may go on with business as usual until more information comes out–and perhaps for all, we are all thinking, “How is this going to personally affect me?” All of these feelings are normal, and hit upon the depth and variance of how human beings react in stressful or uncertain moments. And it is in these moments when having a community and communicating about the complexities and fears we may be feeling is so vital.

In our GO BIG team meeting this past week, Lance Page led us through a community building exercise regarding the recent messages we’ve been hearing about the budget, how it has been affecting us, and how can we support each other during this time. Many staff commented that it was refreshing to have real conversations and share their individual perspectives with one another. There was also a sentiment that they did not feel alone in their thoughts, thus strengthening the feeling of community.

We understand some of these conversations have already taken place with some teams and departments. Kudos to those of you have taken the time and space to create community during these times. For those who have not yet, we recommend for teams to come together in the spirit of trust and transparency to discuss where people are at in this process. While there are several unknowns at this point, you may find some ease in knowing that as a community, you are not alone.

Here are 4 questions that any manager or supervisor can use with staff as guiding questions:

  1. What have you heard about our current budget situation?
  2. What are your concerns?
  3. What are your hopes?
  4. What support can we provide to staff during this time of organizational change?

Our GO BIG team appreciated the opportunity to share and be listened to; community is strengthened when we can come together in an open and authentic way. We hope that each of you can continue to share your experiences and support one another during this time.

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