NAPW: When working on a team, what role do you usually take? Why?
Eccles: It depends on the team. If it is an area where I have more experience, then I might assume a more active role than if I am working on a team where I am relatively new to the field. In the latter case, I like to watch and listen so that I can learn from the team members.
NAPW: Describe a situation in which you were able to positively influence the actions of others in a desired direction.
Eccles: I was working in a church that was deeply in debt, but they had brand-new pews. On the backs of the pews were holders for the hymnals, but the paperback, disposable hymnals just slipped right through onto the floor. After every mass, I watched the ushers go around to every single pew and reposition the thin, disposable hymnals. The subscription for those paperback hymnals was expensive. I had had experience with a larger, hardback hymnal in other churches and after researching costs, prepared a comparison chart that showed purchasing the more permanent, hardback hymnals, while being a fairly large investment initially, would save the parish a great deal of money over the next ten years. Though my idea was shelved, I was confident that I had the backing of the Parish Council and the Finance Committee.
NAPW: Describe a situation when you failed to meet a deadline. What did you learn?
Eccles: Actually, one of my strengths is organization; I like to prepare a plan of action and a timeline for accomplishing goals. I cannot think of a time when I failed to meet a deadline in the workplace.
NAPW: What ways have you found to make your job easier or more rewarding?
Eccles: The more you put into something, the more you will get out of it — I really do believe this. If you believe in a cause, have a real passion for the work and can think of ways to improve the organization or help to make people’s lives better, how can a job not be rewarding?
NAPW: Describe the most creative way you have solved a customer’s problem.
Eccles: Customers want to know they are being heard, that someone is listening and cares about what they have to say. Addressing this question from the perspective of a church music director, the members of the parish are the “paying customers.” It can be a challenge keeping all of the parishioners happy with the selection of liturgical music. Everyone has his or her own opinion of what the music should be. In one church, I created an interactive opinion-sharing wall. I covered one wall with a huge sheet of paper and let people write their favorite hymns on it with different colored markers. This activity accomplished a couple of things: 1) It allowed people to voice their opinion and have it be seen be everyone, 2) It helped people to realize that not everyone likes the same kind of music, 3) It gave me an opportunity to deliver exactly what people wanted because I could incorporate their favorite hymns into the music plans.
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