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A Humble Appeal For Better Staff Meetings March 6, 2014

Posted by Tim Rodgers in Management & leadership, Organizational dynamics.
Tags: , , , ,

See if this sound familiar. Your manager requires the staff to attend a weekly meeting. Every meeting is the same: after a few announcements and “pass-downs” from senior leadership your manager goes around the table for what is essentially a series of 1-on-1 conversations with each member of the staff. Everyone waits their turn, perhaps mildly interested in what’s happening elsewhere in the group, but usually checking their own e-mail and messages and counting the minutes until the ordeal is over.

This may be a great meeting for the manager, but a terrible use of time for everyone else. Staff meetings are no different than any other meeting. There’s an opportunity cost when you drag people away from their desks or workstations and expect them sit still and pay attention. There must be sufficient value in the meeting to make it worth that cost.

To me, the value of any meeting comes from the real-time interactions and collaboration between the participants. Otherwise, just send an e-mail. If there’s a topic that needs to be discussed, but it’s not of general interest, or amenable to collaboration, then everyone else should be excused. A staff meeting agenda should be constructed to maximize the opportunity to engage the brains of everyone present. The person leading the meeting should actively solicit everyone’s ideas. If no one else can reasonably add value to the discussion, then it’s probably not a good topic for a staff meeting.

Meeting participants have a responsibility here, too. “Decisions are made by those who show up,” and that doesn’t mean sitting quietly and depriving the team of your inputs.

We’ve all got work to do. If we’re going to have a meeting, let’s make it worth our time.



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