Thursday, August 09, 2012

A Little Less Conversation and a Little More Action

Let’s face it.  Most of us are facing the time crunch.  With increasing demands for service in these times of austerity measures (read budget restrictions), where and when can front-line staff carve out the time to plan using the ELECT Framework?  Well, as a supervisor, I recently decided that it was time for me to stop talking and to start finding a way to support my staff by giving them the time.  That’s why I have reduced my staff meeting time by 1 hour and given that time to staff to program plan. 
Staff meetings are important and there has to be time for people to come together to share information and discuss important topics.  Nevertheless, I’ve decided to start preparing for my meetings differently so that I’m not spending so much time explaining what we are about to discuss.  Here’s how:
Program Updates:  Staff can submit those ahead of time in writing and that can be inserted into the minutes right away. 
Housekeeping Items:  These are those little reminders like hand in your vacation request forms and please remember to respect the no-scent policy.  These can all be delivered ahead of time with the agenda.  There’s no need to be taking up meeting time for those quick and easy items. 
Keep on track:  How many times has an agenda topic suddenly morphed into “that reminds me of…”  Let’s face it.  Our jobs are all about interacting and connecting with people, be it children or adults.  We are accustomed to chatting and being friendly.  There’s nothing wrong with that except it is better suited outside the meeting.  A person can be assigned at the beginning of the meeting to be responsible for identifying when topics have gone off course.
Our team has now had two meetings with this new format and we were able to cover all the agenda items and generate great discussion-and we did it all under 2 hours!  The rest of the time the team used to work in smaller groups to develop their programs plans.  Where there is a will, there’s a way. 
I challenge other supervisors to look at their meetings and see if there is an opportunity for a little less conversation and a little more action! 

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