Sunday, January 10, 2016

I love my staff meetings. Here's why.

Small Staff: We decided that everyone should be employee of the month every month.  I "bring in the most $$" and our newest staff member "asks the best questions."
As of late, there is a weird phenomenon at my workplace. We really enjoy our weekly staff meeting (I took a poll just to make sure it’s not in my head). There is a lot of advice out there about meetings.  We generally presume that meetings, by default, suck.  
Why do I enjoy this weekly meeting so much? I find them motivating, fun, and sometimes ridiculous. Some might find it to be the worst possible time: Friday afternoon. It’s the last thing our team does every week. We’re exhausted. Each week’s meeting is like a eulogy for the past week and an initiation for the next. 
After giving it some thought. I think this is why I like them so much: 
  1. We start high. In our workshops with our kids, we start with “highs and lows,” we take that to our staff meeting, and we all share our “highs” for the week.  In non-profit work, we live and breathe our mission. Our successes  give us a high. We take the first ten minutes and celebrate what is going well. Meetings are about solving problems, but if we focus our meetings entirely on problems, they can be a downer. A positive start helps us to get through the weeds. 
  2. We don’t meet in the middle (of the day). We avoid staff meetings where someone is going to have to run before it’s over. We don’t schedule them for the middle of the day. Every Friday I race against the clock to finish up by our meeting time. But once we get to the meeting, I know my week is almost over.  This seems counterintuitive, but if you really enjoy your meeting there’s a sense of gratification ending your day this way.
  3. We save it for the meeting.   Everybody comes to the meeting with an agenda, and each person has the opportunity to add something that they want to talk about. We have the regular stuff to do, but every week presents new opportunities for group decision making. We are in each other's faces all week, but we save important topics for the opportunity to talk them out as a group. 
  4. We change the environment. Depending on our own agendas and the seriousness of our work, we might meet in a coffee shop, or even better, a bar (don’t go crazy).  I find that shields go down when you change your environs. People brighten up, especially after a day of the office blahs.
  5. We like each other.  The real bummer in life is that you can’t always work with people you enjoy, but when you do, it’s electric. One staff member once told me, “I just tell myself, why hate people you have to spend a ⅓ of your day around?” It’s a really good point.

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