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Gratitude for an over-worked & short-staffed team of gold!

Allowing my team to taste the sweet fruits of gratitude!

Photo of Aj Vallee
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I'm the production manager of a small and young yet innovative and dynamic film festival produced by a very small team with a very small budget but a lot of will power! Although my experience spans over the course of two decades with large scale events, most of my colleagues are either interns, at the start of their career or mid-way through it and have mostly worked on smaller events than what ours is expected to deliver. Therefore, challenges are numerous and stakes are high. Coincidentally: so is the stress level! 

My job is more than just being a production manager. It's also to guide through the how-tos of this profession, establish guidelines to build an organisation to high professional standards. And help solve problems. And encourage. A lot. 

Having had done a masters degree in design thinking, I had been looking for a great way to initiate a design thinking project and familiarise my team to this methodology. In comes IDEO's Gratitude in the Workplace perfect both in theme, and, funny enough, in timing considering I presented it to the team the week prior (sept 8th) to our opening: people are tired, stressed, edgy. Wicks are shorter, patience scarce... a time when gratitude is badly needed!

But how to bring the challenge in a way that would morph into our work habits? Wunderlist! We abundantly use Wunderlist so I decided to create a "Gratitude in the Workplace challenge" list and invited my colleagues to join it. I expected them to roll their eyes when I presented the challenge "Gosh, something more to do! She's got time to waste! Scoff" Well, goodbye assumptions: they did not! They weren't sold to the idea at first, mostly joking about gratitude and "hastaging-gratitude" for anything but the idea worked its way and they all accepted my Wunderlist invitation. The following day, one of the intern logged in the first gratitude manifestation by sharing the fact that a team leader had told her what a great job she had done and that it had brought tears of happiness to her eyes. I thought "There we are!" 

Being as busy as we are during our 11-day event, working 12-14hour days, people don't necessarily have the reflex to add gratitude manifestations to the list, but they do. The first image uploaded is a screen capture of the list as of this afternoon (sept 21st). Since typing this report, the list has doubled! (synchronicity/law of attraction, anyone? See image2) For instance, as I type this, sitting at my folded table in our jam-packed-crammed headquarter, a woman from the public came in to thank us for our hard and great work and to say how much the public can feel the team work behind the results. A bunch turned around to me and screamed "Gratitude"! It's been added to the list.

I plan on sharing this report at our daily team meeting tomorrow and am looking forward to the second phase of the challenge.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

The proof has been made just with this first phase of the challenge: gratitude is contagious! The more you spread around, the more comes back! Even so that when I lost my voice due to a cold, my assistant made me cue cards as a joke, one of them being "Gratitude" (see image).

Tell us about yourself

I'm a multidisciplinary artist and production manager for cultural events. I've done my masters degree in design thinking in 2012 at Central Saint Martins in London and I'm filing in this challenge in the name of the team making this film festival possible!
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Attachments (2)

QCFF Gratitude Manifestation list_V2.jpg

V2 of our gratitude manifestations list which doubled as I started to write this report!

QCFF Gratitude Manifestation list_V1.jpg

V1 of our gratitude manifestations list before I started to write this report.


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