“How can I be more successful in my life and work?” “What will help me become happier?” “How can I make my life count for something I really believe in?”
These are all great questions to ask, whoever you are. Here at Salem Social Village, growth and learning are central to our mission statement, and so we spend a lot of time helping our team of local staff find answers to such questions in ways that can bring genuine change – to their work, their relationships, their lives.
For the last nine months or so, we as a team have been studying a Russian translation of ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’. This continuing bestseller considers topics including productivity, time management, being proactive rather than reactive, and balancing both personal and professional effectiveness.
Nothing is changed overnight, and making the effort to learn about and then develop new habits is not a short-term investment. However, we’re gradually seeing the team grow. Anton, who had previously received training in time management skills, said, “I’m starting to learn the importance of time, and that you have to be able to call a spade a spade.”
Max said, “I always thought that there were just winners and losers, and that was life. But now, the desire to achieve a win/win outcome in each situation is helping me in so many ways.” And Anya, reflecting on what she had learnt, said, “People here are often so often reactive, they’ve never understood the power of taking initiative. Proactive decisions are making such a difference to my life and work!”
As well as watching the team develop and become more effective, Arman, our Executive Director, has himself hugely benefitted from this material. “Carrying a huge amount of responsibility in my leadership role, I was becoming really stressed, not sleeping well, and feeling like I was caught in an endless cycle,” he said. “But now I’ve learnt more about how to manage myself and my priorities, I can see the goals more clearly and stay in good shape. And I’m now really enjoying working with such a creative team – it’s so much better!”
This kind of outlook and understanding really isn’t normal in this culture, but growing through learning together – it’s really happening here. And of course, what the team learn, they pass on to our clients and friends. It’s a long-term investment, but it’s already proving effective.