77 Meetings

Published: July 1, 2013

Four families. Four cities. Seventy-seven gatherings. Nobody imagined the depth of bond that would unfold when the original commitment to meet three times per year was made over twenty-five years ago.Yet, year after year, without exception, participants rotated from Chicago to Detroit to Cincinnati to Indianapolis to enjoy each new chapter of the group's evolution. What began as an assembly of eight young adults grew to three generations of thirty-four people spanning nearly sixty years in age.

Rarely does any team get the luxury of sustained membership over a quarter of a century. Most groups manage a rhythm of turnover commensurate with the nature of their industry. In the interpersonal space, divorce is sufficiently common to compete with the recruitment/retention cycles of any professional organization. Most teams normalize the greetings and departures of ever changing personnel moves. Stability in membership is the exception to the rule.

The multifamily team evolved from a common core. A complex collection of relationships thrive within the nucleus. Each dyad has an anthology of pleasures and pains defining varying cycles of maturity. Accomplishment is celebrated and tragedy is soothed as the seasons wear on. Investment deepens. Trust is unconditional. Innovation sprouts unexpectedly. Distancing enables perspective and adjustment.

Teams are teams. Whether in the workplace, the neighborhood, or the family home, we are blessed with the richness of human connection. Allow the magic of longevity to cast its spell on your relationships. Seventy-seven times.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.