Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 36 - No agenda

There are days when I have a very clear idea about which I want to write.
Today is not one of those days.

This leads me on to an (at least for me) interesting question:
How do we deal with meetings without agendas?

I think that these come in two different flavours:
  1. The meetings where an agenda is present, but the chair just hasn't revealed it to the meeting
  2. The meetings that are literally there for the sake of having a meeting
Flavour 1 can be countered through administrative assistance and is not really as worrying as flavour 2. When I am chairing a regular meeting, I try to ensure that there is something useful to discuss in every meeting. It might not be urgent, or even necessary, but it should be useful and require discussion, not merely reporting. I think that there is a space for reporting, but staff meetings should not turn into a school assembly.

Every agenda point should result (or have the potential to result) in an action point.
Every staff meeting should be minuted and the minutes distributed.
Action points should be chased up.

I'd like to think that all of this would go without saying, otherwise why are we doing it?
It's not just to see each other and spend time in each others' company. There are too many other things to be doing. And I'm not suggesting that the bureaucratic side of all of this is the most important thing. I've spent far too long in meetings in another institution where so much time was spent revisiting the minutes of the previous meeting that we didn't reach the agenda of the current meeting.

So how do we deal with meetings without agenda?
I've read suggestions that you simply refuse to go.
I don't know how my manager would respond to that, and it's almost guaranteed that the meeting you refuse to attend will be the important one.
It would just be nice to attend more staff meetings which didn't result in me writing 'why am I here?'.

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