In a meeting room about to implement an agenda, Craig explains how useful it is to state an ending time.
Thanks for holding the camera, Wanda!
This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen.
Here’s what Craig says in the video
Hey it’s Craig Freshley about to facilitate a meeting in this room and today I want to talk about the importance of an agenda having an ending time. Come this way.
A lot of groups — especially government councils and commissions — tend to have meeting agendas without an ending time because there is an ethic that we want to give everybody a chance to say everything that they need to say. We want to give all the time that’s required for a particular agenda item.
And I get that, but a downside of not having an end time to an agenda is that the facilitator — the leader of the meeting — has no leverage. There is nothing that I can do or say as the facilitator to speed things along, to call people out when comments are being repeated; to take a hard line about things that are off-topic.
When an agenda has an end time, at various points through the agenda I can say, “look we’ve only got 45 minutes. Look I understand that what you’re saying is important but we’ve only got 20 minutes left in this meeting and I want to hear from some others.” As we get close to the end time I can be more and more pushy.
And what I find is that it actually doesn’t have the result of limiting comments. It has the result of making comments more efficient, and honestly that’s what we want in a meeting. If you want your meetings to be productive and efficient, wherever possible state an end time and stick to it.
I hope this helps your group make good decisions. Thanks for listening everybody.
In principle, members of high-functioning groups know their roles and play them well. When group members are unsure of their roles they are hesitant to take initiative for fear of embarrassment or offending others. When group decision making is inefficient it is often because roles are not well defined and/or group members are not playing their parts.
Lines are limits, a word derived from Latin limes. Lines are boundaries and it is helpful to know them and work within them. A line is also a set of words delivered in a play. In any good production, each player knows their lines.
Practical Tip: Take time to define expectations of each role within your group and make sure the expectations are widely understood. This is more than defining jobs, it is defining decision-making steps and expecting each member to keep step with the process; not act out of order. It is knowing when to weigh in and when to stand aside. It is the wisdom to know the difference between what to accept and what to change.
In principle, groups can spend a lot of time and energy keeping ideas and projects artificially alive. We are all familiar with the agenda item that keeps coming up over and over again but that no one seems to have energy for; or the committee for which energy is fading, attendance is waning, and discussion becomes mostly about process rather than substance. Putting energy into dying things distracts attention from helping other things grow.
That things die is okay. The wonderful thing about dying is that it leads to new life. When things die, the energy goes to other places. Letting things die fertilizes new creativity.
Practical Tip: Make deliberate decisions about what you want to help grow and what you want to let die. Chasing instincts to save everything is inefficient. If a committee or project of your group is dying and it is not something that you care about or have optimism around, don’t put energy into keeping it alive.
Plan for dying. Create committees with sunset provisions that require them to die automatically if no one moves to save them, rather than that they live automatically if no one moves to kill them.
When dying things bring sadness, that’s okay too. Work to turn those emotions into new resolve for growth and creation of new things.
In principle, just because you did something bad to me is never a reason for me to do something bad to you. Doing something for revenge or to get even just makes more bad things happen. Sometimes we justify harming someone to teach them a lesson. If this is my goal, I should first ask, “What is the very …read more
In this super short video Craig explains that you don’t always have to do a big, new thing. Instead, following through with what you already agreed to is often the greatest gift. Thanks for holding the camera, Ellis! This video has captions. To see them, click CC on the video screen. Here’s what Craig says …read more