Heck of a homecoming my frosty ferry ride into Essex two weeks ago on January 25. Damp-cold. Socked in. Snowing. I was dropping in for team time, scope shuffle, timeline tuneup, perspective pivot, and a revitalizing dose of laughter with friends.
As I’ve often touted, teamwork is the first, second, and third priority for us today and every day. When our crew is collaborating and collegial, progress is usually swift and morale is buoyant. But when team dynamics falter, for any reason, it’s usually evident even from afar. Headway stalls and morale suffers. But the cause (often) and the remedy (almost always) demand a closer inspection, an immersion in the daily doings and conversations.
So when forward motion on the icehouse rehab began to slow and spirit suffered, it became clear that I needed some hands-on team time to understand and improve the slide. And frankly, swapping video meetings and phone/text threads for in person, sawdust in the air, boots on the snowy ground, chalk line snapping, and overdue discourse dumping was enticing and necessary.
Personnel particulars won’t be part of this post since who does what, when, where, why, and how is Susan and my concern. Teams coalesce around a common cause, and when necessary, teams adapt. Sometimes the cause shifts; sometimes the team shifts. My time at Rosslyn enabled me to ensure a clear understanding of the needed change(s) not just from my geographically challenged perspective, but from the diverse perspectives of the members of the team. What’s going on? What needs to change? Sometimes these reorganizations are awkward and uncomfortable, clarity elusive. But in this case there was broad consensus about what had been hampering progress and what would restore progress.
Within a week of my arrival we remapped the coming weeks and months, shuffled incremental scopes of work, and made a few adjustments to the plan to better account for the new vision (and to accommodate a few tweaks that became clear to me being onsite that hadn’t been so clear in plans and photo/video updates.)
Today and yesterday I’ve been massaging the new scopes of work into the calendar. Roughly halfway through our start-to-finish timeline in terms of actual months allotted and permissible (October 2022 through May 2023) but less than halfway through the scope and schedule, the days and weeks ahead will require a significant uptick in productivity. For my part, that demands a thoughtful timeline tuneup that makes sense to Pam (project manager), Peter and Eric (carpentry leads), Ben (plumber), Brandon (electrician), and everyone else on the team. It is imminently doable. But careful coordination, clear communication, and steady productivity will be critical.
There’s still some sourcing and sorting to complete. The map forward is apparent, but the individual journeys and when/how they are sequenced is still firming up. In the mean time, collective confidence and enthusiasm appear to be rebounding.
It’s worth noting that a perspective pivot — mine as well as everyone investing their time, expertise, and passion — is actually a really important part of any project. It’s altogether too easy to settle into a pattern, allowing vision and expectations to narrow, simply bumping forward from one day to the next. We all do it sometimes. And yet we all benefit from voluntary and even involuntary disruption that challenges us to think differently, to dilate our our vision, to alter and amplify our expectations. Team dynamics are never static. They can feel static. For a while. Until something disrupts collegiality or workflow.
I’m feeling reinvigorated by what was an unanticipated and unfortunate disruption in our team dynamics. I know that everyone on the team similarly desired and endeavored to avoid the eventual disruption. But the change catalyzed over the last few weeks is dramatic and profoundly positive. Our individual and collective perspective pivots have reawakened our sense of purpose and our confidence in the ability for the team to accomplish the rehab in a timely manner that will make us all proud.
Laughter with Friends
No sojourn to the Adirondack Coast would be complete without at least a few friends gathering. I’d initially tried to limit social time during my stay because the punch-list was ambitious. But the universe has her own ideas, and we’re wise to pay attention. I was reminded how fortunate we are to be part of a community that is thick with good people — smart, creative, cordial, civic minded, and caring — and despite my speedy sojourn I was able to share some meals, cross-country ski, laugh, and catch up with some of the many who enrich our Adirondack life.
Moody Midwinter Mashup
With all the warm-and-fuzzy updates top loaded, it’s time to acknowledge the moody vibes of the video above (if you can’t see it, try loading the URL in a new browser tab). My midwinter mashup isn’t an artistic feat by any estimate, but the black and white sequence, shot for the ferryboat upon approaching Rosslyn’s boathouse on my way from Charlotte to Essex, really does feel like what I was feeling upon arriving. And the less-than-perfect weather conditions emphasized the mood over the first 36-48 hours. Fortunately the weather improved and talk time with the team (and friends) restored the levity I usually associate with a return to Rosslyn. That said, it feels important to acknowledge that it’s not always rainbows and bluebird skies, neither literally, nor metaphorically. Sometimes life shades into shades of gray, and we have to cope, to come together creatively to restore the technicolor lifestyle we love.
Frosty Ferry Crossings
I’ll close with an acknowledgment that a frosty ferry crossing may not be the picture perfect memory that we conjure when relating the joys of community by ferryboat, but I’ve experienced so many meaningful moments just like this. Rainy, snowy, stormy,… The imperfect moments shape us as much as the sunny ones.
Special thanks to Rob Fountain whose February 27, 2015 photograph in the Press Republican deftly captures these sorts of experiences.
With temperatures below zero and a brisk wind, a Lake Champlain Transportation Co. ferry pushes through icy waters heading for Grand Isle, Vt., Tuesday from Cumberland Head. For many cities in the Northeast, it was the coldest February on record, and some places recorded the most days of zero or below temperatures. (Source: Press Republican)