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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Meetings

It may be fashionable to declare a hatred of meetings. Mention “meetings” and someone is bound to say it: I hate meetings! Our little work group has often found ourselves in this round of questions and predictable responses:

Do we need to meet?
Is there anything for the agenda this week?
Can you think of something we need to meet about?
Well, maybe just a short one.

And then we do meet. We have a regularly scheduled meeting every Wednesday morning because we’ve learned that we always do need to meet. For a small team it is amazing just how much needs to happen around that meeting table. After all, we see each other all the time. We share the hallways, the lunch table, the photocopier and fax space. We meet each other on the stairs, at the refrigerator and in the parking lot. Why do we need to have a formal meeting?

Again, the fashionable comment that always gets made sooner or later: isn’t it better to be “doing” than to be “meeting”?

And of course, “doing” is the priority. We must be about meeting all those goals we’ve set and agreed upon. But nothing just happens of its own accord. You need to be strategic. You need to set time-lines and assign folks to tasks. You need to hear about what’s going on in the other parts of the field that just might make a huge difference. You need to hear about the problems people are having and maybe put additional brain-power to work on the challenges. You need to just go round the table and listen to whatever progress is being made. You need to cheer a little for the minor successes and encourage in the face of the hard questions. You need to tap into the synergy that a group brings to an issue. You need to let ideas happen.

At least those are the kinds of things we need to do at our meeting table.

Then you need to watch the clock, wrap up the conversation and move on. So a stop time is also a critical piece, and an agenda—that essential list of things to include. Ours always has the item “Where have you been and where are you going and what do we need to hear about?” This is the main reason we will always need to meet. Because we’ve all been somewhere and will be somewhere else soon.

So if you should happen to call us on a Wednesday morning, be sure to have your message prepared to leave on the answering machine. Everyone is in a meeting!

Posted by Marion

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