Personal Contributions, July 27-31

On Tuesday, my boss asked one of the volunteers if they could turn an excel list of 140 houses into six groups, split evenly, with the groups being determined based on proximity of the houses (to make the driving/dropping route optimal). These groups would then determine where people would be assigned to drop off campaign signs.  About an hour later I noticed the man was still staring at the excel sheet and he didn’t seem to be making a lot of progress.

Once I realized that he was entering each individual address into google maps and that this was not very efficient, I remembered a trick that I learned when interning for a VA Senate campaign last Fall. There is a feature on Google Maps called “My Maps” which allows you to upload an excel sheet of addresses and the algorithm does the work for you. This makes it much easier to determine which houses are closer to one another because it shows you all of them on one screen.

After showing him this, I noticed that he was showing some of the volunteers afterward so that they would know this trick for the future.

One of the ways that my leadership courses and knowledge from Jepson helped me out during this week was when I had to figure out a way to get the younger volunteers and interns to focus on our tasks once the campaign manager had left the office. I noticed that whenever Kris would leave the office and would leave me in charge, the other interns and volunteers would often become very distracted if not stoping their work entirely. It was pretty obvious that some of the younger interns looked up to my friend Harry and basically followed whatever he was doing; this made me think back to my leadership and the social sciences course and started to think about when Dr. Hoyt spent a lecture or two on group thought and herd mentality.

With this in mind, instead of bringing it up to everyone, I brought it up to Harry. And, once he acknowledged that he was distracting and likely influencing the others’ productivity, he agreed to stay on task and the rest of the interns followed his changes.