If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The above advice would probably not work if you were playing Island Tribe, a popular time management app on the iPad, where the challenge is to direct workers to gather wood and other resources in order to achieve a single goal.
The above quotation, however, makes our tasks as SIG and Chapter leaders clear. We must inspire other researchers to want to get together to share ideas and their academic life, to long for the intensity of research relationships that extend beyond our careers as academics into meaningful human interactions.
The advice works for us because we balance multiple goals involving our institutions, our family, and our profession. Furthermore, the advice works because we realize that achieving these goals may take a great deal of time to achieve.
One of the most difficult aspects of SIGs and Chapters is to inspire each other over the long haul. In the short term there are usually people who will "collect wood" and do the assigned tasks and work, but the longing for real research relationships is something else again.
If we can instill in our SIG and Chapter colleagues that it is vitally necessary to long for a fulfilling academic life of the mind and spirit that is nurtured through deep participation in our research communities, we will be likely to develop SIGs and Chapters that contribute to our lives in meaningful ways, and which extend well beyond the individual officer roles we have taken on for the next few years.
So work to inspire every one of your members to long for the endless immensity of the sea that is the research culture you are creating, the one that you can see in the far distance. Then you will have many people to accompany you on your life's journey. And the work and tasks will get done.
Saint-Exupery quotation from http://www.quotegarden.com/teamwork.html last accessed on September 18, 2012.