Attentiv published a report highlighting our meeting habits. It is worth a read and perhaps some consideration. Why are so few meetings scheduled without an agenda? What does the duration of the meeting say about how we value our team’s time? What is the difference between meetings?
What is the best meeting you have attended? Why? Have you told anyone so they can benefit from your experience?
Stumbled across the Meeting Ticker website which makes an interesting point when you are holding meetings without a defined purpose, duration, and commitment.
“Our organization’s board meets from 3 to 5 pm the second Wednesday of the month- it is tradition.”
Some sacred cows are hard to change. Customs passed down from one group to the next. Athletes know that if they do the same workout every time they will get a similar results but not improve. That is why they add interval training where they increase the exertion over a period of time and then allow for some recovery before repeating. The next workout might be a distance workout which lasts five times longer than the interval workout but the intensity is much lower. Variety allows for expanded capacity.
What if your organization’s next board or staff was half as long? How would that alter the agenda? What would you email to the participants in advance of the meeting? Speaking of participants, how would they receive a meeting that ran half as long?
Try it for one or two meetings and see the results. If this idea appears too radical, try it at the committee level first. Seth Godin had a great post on this very concept for business. His challenge was delivered with conviction.
Do you meet in the same room every meeting? Do people sit in the same chairs? Is the format of your agenda the same each meeting? Do the same people make similar reports?
Sounds like it is time for a field trip. Why not partner with a peer organization and hold a joint session of the boards and staff? Take a tour of one of your programs in action. Have a participant in the program lead the tour. Meet in a new location- remember when the classroom teacher would take the class outside on a perfect day in May? Walk, ride bikes, take a rafting trip down a section of river your organization protects. Connect in a new way and the results will be spectacular.