Building a high level of spiritual well-being in your team may take a variety of shapes and sounds.
Strong, productive leadership teams are not immune from stress, as Kit Flowers, DVM, and President of Christian Veterinary Missions, experienced recently:
“Our regular staff workloads, combined with the outside pressures of a family illness or death, were causing increased tension in our office. Everyone could feel it. The level of trust and transparency among our team was already high. We tend to work well together, and pray for each other, and yet there’s always room to grow and build upon our strengths. It was during my own prayer time that an idea for dealing with staff stress came to mind–and made me smile.”
At the next weekly staff meeting Flowers told his team, “I’ve got a stress reducer like you’ve never seen before!” He then held up a pig-shaped squeeze toy he’d picked up at a veterinary convention for swine veterinarians. With this toy, the “Squeeze the Pig” concept was incorporated into CVM’s office culture: At the close of a daily check in, Flowers shared the concept and passed the pig to a team member. This prompts the entire team to commit to prayer for that staffer. However, to receive the pig the beneficiary must first share a pig sound with the group. The beneficiary brings the pig, named Dr. Keif, to the next daily check in and chooses the next recipient the team commits to pray for. The squeeze toy has made the rounds among the 12-member team prompting good-natured laughter and prompting staffers to express their care to harried colleagues in need of affirmation.
“Our ‘Squeeze the Pig’ tradition adds a light touch to the meeting and has really helped sharpen people’s listening skills,” says Flowers. “We’re creating the space to listen and share in one another’s lives. As this happens, we’re reminded that we’re the body of Christ. We rediscover how to stand together with each other serving a ministry that’s committed to challenge, empower and facilitate veterinarians to live out the Christian faith—34 full-time vets and 370 volunteers serving in 14 countries, plus a nationwide campus ministry to 1,400 students at 34 colleges and universities.” No word yet as to if, or when a pig is headed to these thriving ministry fields. Stay tuned.
The Bottom Line:
Sometimes, you have to reach beyond the conventional boundaries of your organization for a fresh approach that can take transparency and trust to a new, needed level.