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The ourEliot Team: Facilitating Healthy CommunicationsourEliotFINALLOGO

The ourEliot team promotes and enables healthy communications as promised to one another through the Congregational Covenant. Differences of opinion within a large and diverse community such as Eliot are inevitable. Sometimes conflict (a difference of opinion plus tension) may arise. However, church conflict specialists agree that two key factors in handling differences and conflicts in a healthy manner are: having rules of behavior through a covenant, and having a readily available "complaint" process. The following describes the team and the process for handling “complaints,” or more broadly, compliments, suggestions and concerns.

Members of the ourEliot team make themselves available to record and forward your inputs to the appropriate party.  While our Congregational Covenant invites us to communicate important messages fully and directly with those responsible, sometimes this is difficult to do.  Team members are skilled in listening and in remaining neutral, and so provide a clear communication channel for your input.

Team Members: Brian Krippner, Cindy Lau, Ted Lau, Jennifer Mackenzie, Lanette Tanaka

Ground Rules:

  • The ourEliot team can be contacted either through email (at ourEliot@eliotchapel.org) or by engaging a team member in Adams Hall after Sunday services.
  • No anonymous input will be accepted.
  • Input will be collected either face-to-face or via the phone; email to the team is a request to be contacted, not a channel for communicating input.
  • The team member will ask you questions to clarify the suggestion, compliment or concern; to identify the impact of the subject on you; to note previous communication you've had on the subject and with whom; and to determine the outcome you desire.
    • The most useful inputs arise from recent experiences that directly affect you, which you have not communicated previously to the responsible party, and about which you can express specific outcomes you desire.
    • While “venting emotion” to the ourEliot team is permitted, you can appreciate that inputs already communicated to the responsible party or for which you have no specific desired outcome are not as useful.
  • The team member will ask you if you would consider communicating the input directly to the appropriate party, either alone or in the company of an ourEliot team member; if willing, no input will be collected.
  • The team member will review the written version of the input with you for approval before concluding the interaction.

 

Process description:

  • On a weekly basis, the ourEliot team will forward inputs for which congregants expressed no desired outcomes (typically compliments, suggestions and some concerns) to the person responsible (e.g. lead minister, assistant minister, staff supervisor, etc).  The Lead Minister will be given a listing of all of these monthly, and the congregant will receive a note from the ourEliot team thanking them for their input. There should be no expectation of follow-up from the responsible party.
  • A representative of the ourEliot team will review the remaining inputs with the Lead Minister (typically concerns for which congregants expressed desired outcomes) to determine the disposition of each: whether additional input is needed, or whether the input is actionable or not actionable. 
    • If additional input is needed, the ourEliot team will re-engage the congregant to solicit missing information, and resubmit the input.
    • If judged non-actionable, the congregant will be thanked by the ourEliot team and told why the input is considered non-actionable.
    • If judged actionable, the input will be forwarded to the person responsible to develop and execute a plan of action to address the suggestion or concern. The congregant will be apprised of the plan and its implementation by the person responsible.
      •  If the matter is judged to involve possible non-compliance with a Board Policy, the input will be forwarded to the Board as the responsible party.
      • At the Lead Minister’s discretion, internal or external authorities may be engaged for mediation.
  • On a monthly basis, the Board will receive a monitoring report summarizing the concerns and suggestions received through this process and their outcomes.

 

Invitation:

If you have a compliment, suggestion or concern that is important to communicate to a responsible party, look for an on-duty member of the team in Adams Hall wearing an ourEliot badge. Better to do that than to let it fester inside or to complain to your friends at Eliot. And if someone complains to you, refer them to the ourEliot team!