This weekend my family and I visited Angel Park in Perry Hall Maryland. Much like it’s predecessor, the beautiful “Annie’s Playground” in Fallston Maryland (built to honor kindergartner Annie McGann Cumpson who was killed by a drunk driver), the community of Perry Hall came together and constructed a smaller but very modern playground called Angel Park. This park honors Ryan Szcybor who died of leukemia at 15 months. Both playgrounds, built by loving communities, honor not just these two children but all children. Angel Park was built to bring joy to families and to be completely accessible to children with disabilities. It is truly a labor of love.
Nearly 4000 volunteers dedicated their loving time to constructing Angel Park. Donations came in from everywhere (as did the volunteers) and together they built something miraculous. Many of the park’s creative features were designed by children at elementary and middle schools. One of the children even drew a zip-line which would eventually grace the park as a very popular attraction.
I had an opportunity to speak with David, pictured below with his daughter on the zip line he helped build. He told me with obvious joy how the volunteers built everything there. The zip line was his favorite project and he shows obvious pride in his involvement. If it looks like it is “industrial strength” you are right. He told me it could easily hold me and that heavier men “tested it out” over and over again during construction. (“Weeee-ha!”)
Angel Park broke ground in March 2016 and then opened early November 2016. In only eight months Angel Park went from vision to reality and is in fact the most impressive playground I have ever seen.
Productivity When it Matters Most
So, what it is that generated such amazing productivity from so many hard working and dedicated people? The answer? They had love in their hearts and a worthy cause. In today’s workplace so many organizations struggle to keep their employees motivated, morale high, and productivity soaring. Yet, the answer is so simple… love and a worthy cause.
Isn’t it amazing how inspired we can become simply by the idea of making a meaningful difference in the lives of others? When we understand that our work really helps others, we soar. When an organization goes off course, dilutes its values, fails to affirm its members, and gets in the way of people helping people, we fall.
Organizations fail to get the highest levels of productivity when love deteriorates and the organization’s demonstrated behaviors are seen as contrary to its core values. However, everyone is motivated by a supervisor that demonstrates genuine care both for the employee and the organization. Everyone is motivated by an executive team that lives the values they espouse. Everyone is motivated by the opportunity make a positive and lasting impact on the world and to have the opportunity to help others. Everyone is at their most productive, most creative, most dedicated, and most inspired when they have love in their hearts and a worthy cause to work for.
Forget compensation. No one got paid for Angel Park. Forget hypocrisy. Everyone was there to love, support, encourage, and give. And positive change? Angel Park will stand as a testament to love as it brings joy to countless families and children. Productivity? Off the charts! 4000 people came together, got organized, and built a masterpiece in a very short time (while going to school or holding down full time jobs).
Can you imagine the productivity of your organization if everyone felt the love and passion that the 4000 volunteers felt? It would be off the charts!
Is it possible? Yes, if organizational leaders will jettison the hypocrisy, jettison the workplace bullies and toxic employees, fight for a worthy cause, and love, love, love the people they work with and the people they serve. Who would think it would come down to love? When you think about it, it is a no-brainer, and yet the most obvious answers can sometimes escape even the most intelligent leaders.
- Steps Forward
- Effectiveness: (motivation)
- Health: Heart (inspiration, service to others)
- Health: Spirit (love)
- Health: Body (exercise)