August 19


ALSF: Team Alex Has No Boundaries

Pig-team buildinganimals-team building Teamwork can be a tricky business. Just ask anyone who has participated in any group effort with n>2. We often operate in a world with individual agendas and inflexibility, where literally millions of books, articles, TV programs, and workshops promise to teach us how to function more effectively as a team. It’s a complicated concept, apparently, when our natural tendencies have us steadfastly holding to the mindset that our own ideas are true, best, correct…so I’ve heard.

The crew at Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation knows a thing or two about teamwork, and the past few bi-monthly Staff meetings have including activities that illustrate that fact. After barely recovering from a hotly contested trivia session, last week’s staff meeting included a short presentation from AC Moore, the East coast Arts and Crafts superstore and corporate partner. Our assignment was to break into groups, and fashion money-collecting jars to look like animals utilizing a myriad of crafting supplies (duct tape, beads, feathers, etc). My husband would be horrified to learn that duct tape comes in a virtual rainbow of shades and patterns; he is of the belief that anything other than standard ‘gray’ impacts effectiveness. In any case, we had about 20 minutes to develop our imaginary creature, which required time management and execution to the fullest! Take note of the evidence of varying levels of creativity—no judgment! But the AC Moore folks chose the flying zebra team as the winner, after only minor grumblings from the other teams. What was illustrated to me clearly was the selfless willingness of this group of people to come together again and again for a common goal.

Whether it’s organizing and holding an event of any size and scope, acknowledging the donation of a small visitor with $102 in change collected at a neighborhood Lemonade Stand, or developing imaginary animals, teamwork is woven into the fabric here like a warm blanket. One sad postscript is the flying zebra met with an unfortunate accident—a number of times. Hey! Sportsmanship and teamwork only go so far.

The Strategic Plan continues to develop ‘legs’ but is not quite ready to stand on its own. Tomorrow I meet with members of the ALSF Board of Directors to gain their insights around the SWOT analysis, and begin to add specificity around tactics. Included in this discussion will be broad dialogue regarding programs already in place, as well as imaginative and forward-thinking suggestions from the team for possible inclusion into key deliverables. I’m pleased with the process so far, in particular the feedback and ideas that are always present. As noted in the Kenyan proverb, sticks in a bundle are unbreakable. So, how do we further define and refine how we work together? Let me know what you think.