Back in high school, coaches, parents and teachers had a common expectation of my peers and me: “Don’t sandbag.” In other words, don’t slack off, cheat, or rely on the person next to you to do your job or hide your lack of effort.
Then I moved to Fargo, a.k.a. Floodville.
Now, “sandbagging” has an entirely new meaning, and, actually, it’s the complete opposite. In the literal sense, sandbagging requires trust and dependency on everyone nearby. You could say ‘round these parts, the phrase “don’t sandbag” has been wiped out along with our ever-expanding riverbanks and hundreds of homes.
If you’re unfamiliar with sandbagging, first of all, feel lucky, and secondly, let me clue you in to what goes on:
First, a flood prediction is made and announced. After a good amount of grumbling and groaning, professionals haul in sand by the truckload to places with unique, catchy names like “Sandbag Central”. Volunteers of all ages step forward in herds to fill bags, seal them correctly and efficiently stack them onto pallets, which are then loaded onto other trucks. Finally, hundreds of people meet near the sides of area rivers and drainage ditches, form seemingly endless lines, and begin passing each and every bag to the end of the line where it gets added to the stack of bags that will grow to prevent water from leaking through. Ufda.
It sounds like a total disaster, but quite honestly, when everyone fills a niche and does his or her job, it’s a smooth operation and the ideal model for team effort. And, frankly, only a team can make it work.
As our community gears up to make another gargantuan mound of sandbags this year, I’ve taken time to reflect on how amazing the process really is. Not so much the fact that we have to sandbag every year, but rather that a group of people can collaborate to devise and implement a plan almost flawlessly by working together toward a common goal.
The process is comparable to formulating a marketing plan. Similar to (more…)