Five Things We Must Change

Five Things We Must Change

I am very excited about the positive reactions we have been getting from people who have read our new book. Jesse Wilkins posted a review of the book on his blog, and then was kind enough to post the review on the Lulu site (we’re looking for other reactions on the Lulu site, so please check it out!). I’ve also been getting emails from people telling me about how they used the concepts in the book. It’s really great.

I’m also going to highlight my favorite parts of the book on this blog. I know Jeff has already done that on his blog. It was hard to pick my top 5 posts, but I have. Number five on my list is about Staff Meetings:

When is the last time you heard anyone in your association say, “Oh boy, it’s time for staff meeting!” In fact, most people hate staff meetings, but for some reason we treat it like going to the dentist (look at this site to pursue your dream course )we hate being there, but we know we’re better off in the long term by going.

It doesn’t have to be that way (at least for staff meetings). It is true that staff meetings serve a purpose in the long term. We need to be aware of what others in the organization are doing, and we need to know how what we are doing connects to the organization’s strategy.

But staff meetings need not be painful and boring. In fact, with the pressures on association staff to do more with less, we really cannot afford to spend as many as two hours per week wasting time. We need new solutions that allow staff to communicate and act strategically, without boring them to tears.

For example, you can make staff meetings more engaging and focused by distinguishing between big-picture discussions of strategy from the more simple sharing of implementation details. Patrick Lencioni, in his book, Death by Meeting, recommends that “strategic meetings” occur only monthly, cover one or two topics, and require staff to do homework and intense preparation before they convene. In the weekly tactical staff meetings, however, the agenda is created mid-way through the meeting, based on issues identified in the initial go-round. By creating a clearer context for discussion, the meetings can actually be more engaging and productive.

There are also ways to leverage technology in solving this problem. What about creating an internal staff meeting blog? Individuals or department heads can post reports on what they are doing. Other staff can comment with questions and get responses to areas that are specifically relevant to them, skipping over the parts that are not as important. And people can do this on their own time during the week. This way when you do actually convene a meeting, people have more information when they start, and the conversation is more focused and effective.

Those are simply two ideas for changing the way you do staff meetings. You will have to experiment with alternatives. Try them out—at least for a month or two—and then evaluate their effectiveness as a staff. When people are genuinely excited about coming to the meetings, you will know you have it right.