Monday, September 5, 2016

The Org Chart

For the past five months, I’ve been helping to run my temple’s religious school, close out the last school year, revamp some organizational processes, and prepare for the new year. While I am woefully under-qualified to do this on a full-time basis, there was a need, it fell under my purview and I stepped in. End of story.

The experience taught me a lot, about myself, my temple, our fabulous teachers, how things run and a few life lessons.

From the time I joined our Temple board, on which I currently serve as one of the vice presidents, I’ve been asking for an org chart. I’ve needed something on paper to see who handles what, who reports to whom, etc.

Each time I’ve asked, I get one of two looks—the “you’re adorable” look or the “you’re crazy” look. Neither one is particularly satisfying. The chain of command exists in people’s minds, but I wanted something on paper that I could refer to on my own.

We’re a temple. When in doubt, ask your Rabbi. His idea of the perfect org chart?

Cute, but it still didn’t answer my question.

Over the summer, one of the things I did was clean out the Religious School. During this cleaning, guess what I found? You guessed it, an org chart! It was a thing of beauty—it listed clergy, the president, the executive board, the regular board, staff and even committees. I was so excited. Witnesses once again gave me the “you’re adorable” look or the “you’re crazy” look. Those looks still weren’t particularly satisfying, but I got what I wanted, so I didn’t care.

Until I examined the chart more closely and filled in names of people. I looked at it. I turned it sideways and upside down. I printed out another one and re-filled in the names, on the chance I messed up the first time. I walked away and came back later for a fresh perspective.

In fact, the org chart was starting to resemble a stereotypical hillbilly family tree.

My name was everywhere. In some cases, I was actually reporting to myself—which is awesome if you’re me, less awesome for the group as a whole. So I created my own, simplified version, which helps me keep things clear, and helps others know who to talk to.

But as I thought back to this quest for the perfect org chart, I realized it had taught me a few things:

  1. It’s not what you know, or don’t know; it’s how you approach the situation and learn (lack of an org chart).
  2. Keep things in perspective (God vs. Me).
  3. There’s a reason we like a diverse gene pool (hillbilly chart)! If you do too many things, you’re going to fall apart.
  4. Simplify (my version). It’s good for the soul.

I’m going to keep those four thoughts in mind as I give myself a break for a while and rejuvenate. And if someone, somewhere, asks for the org chart, I'll give them mine.

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