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Two days ‘away’ to brainstorm and plan

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Each year, the RIS staff spends time together to plan ahead for the next year. Through this two-day brainstorming session in November, team members discussed ways to improve RIS, in part by working more closely with other sections within CLINIC, as well as ways to increase our social media presence.

After hunkering down in the office and focusing on work the first day, on the second day of the retreat, RIS staff members went off-site, to the Hill Center, a conference center at the Old Naval Hospital in nearby Washington. The location was chosen because we wanted to focus on building a stronger team by appreciating and understanding our differences. The hospital, ordered to be built by President Abraham Lincoln in response to the critical need for hospital care during the Civil War, is a reminder of how important it is to bridge the gap between different ideals to form a stronger group.

This meeting began with a focus on the individual team members of the section. As an icebreaker, each RIS team member brought in an item that held special memories for their family. By seeing where each person came from and learning more about their culture, the staff members were better able to understand each other’s experiences. This helped us fully appreciate that every person has different experiences that may affect their communication styles.

The remainder of the day focused on analysis and discussion of Meyers-Briggs test results, the primary topic of the retreat. Each team member took the test a few days before the retreat. The team was then able to discuss what similarities and differences existed among the section members. It offered an opportunity for us to understand how different communication styles can sometimes cause confusion when dealing with different personality types. By learning how to best communicate with each other, the RIS section members had open and thoughtful discussions on ways to bridge the gap and become an even stronger team in 2017.