Here are are with the final part of our series on actions to take in closing and after your meetings.
and a vital part as well.
#7 - Thank Everyone for Their Participation and Contribution - In our careers we have collectively bargained awards systems whereby employees receive money or other compensation to appreciate the work they do. These are important, yet sometimes, they overshadow how powerful a simple thank you or good job can be. Whether your meeting is one-hour, one-day, or several days, when it’s over, thank everyone.
People give time and effort from their busy schedule to participate in these meetings. Showing our appreciation makes them feel good about that participation, and also makes them more likely to give same time and effort for future meetings
When reviewing these steps for closing the meeting and follow-up, it can be summed up this way, all of these steps are based on communication. As we have repeatedly said, having a communication plan emphasizes its importance. Communication skills are perishable if not used, so for each meeting, learn them, practice them and use them.
Until next time I & I Resolutions remains committed to helping groups resolve their issues, communicate more effectively and become more productive. Connect with us to day and let's discuss how we can assist you and your group.
Welcome back to the Bargaining Table of Thomas and Andy. As per our last segment, 7 Important actions to take in closing and after your meetings....we know what we did and what needs to be done. And to help with that, we need minutes of the meeting.
If you have a recorder for meetings (and you should) the minutes of that meeting must be sent to all participants. Before the meeting ends, and if you have time, review and approve minutes focusing on important ideas/concerns, decisions made, action items to be taken. Cautionary note, you don’t need to capture EVERYTHING being said. Just what’s important.
If you don’t have time, then send minutes to participants within 24 after the meeting with a specific date/time for them to review comment and/or approve. Now while meeting minutes do not need to include everything that has been said, it does need to include (at least) the following:
# 6 - Evaluating the Meeting - Even in the most effective meetings, things don’t always go smoothly. In our experience we have found it valuable to take the time, maybe 15-20 minutes before a meeting ends, to evaluate how the meeting went.
Just think of what you learn by asking each participant the following
1) what worked for them; and
2) how could we improve the meeting.
We have heard participants say for example, “good decision-making process", "used our time well", "not enough participation", and/or "we need larger room” ...and many others.
These evaluations are valuable because they provide insight as to what happened. It tells you how people felt about the meeting both “good” and “bad.” It also gives you a road map for future meetings by building on what went well and what we need to do to make it better.
So glad you've come this far with us in our series! Next time we'll finish it off with our final, but vital tip.
We'll see you back here next week where we'll be discussing how to make yourself and others feel really good about the meeting!
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The Importance of Communication –Part IV
Next week we are facilitating a meeting with a group that has not met since May 2018. Prior to that last session the group had been meeting almost on a monthly basis for the previous several years. So, as in the previous blog in putting together this meeting, decisions were made who would participate, an agenda was developed, previous ground rules were reinforced and logistics on how to conduct the meeting were determined. And, of course, all of this was communicated to the participants.
And as we work with that group, we understand the importance how to run that meeting to meet their objectives. In moving from preparation of a meeting to actually running the meeting, we will continue to need effective communication skills. For that we break down “running the meeting” into two steps a) opening the meeting and b) running the meeting. For this blog, our focus will be on opening the meeting. Now this should be simple yet many a meeting can go off track because we don’t take the time to properly start/open the meeting.
We both have been in meetings where whoever is “in charge” says let’s begin and starts talking immediately about the issues. We say stop. Because there are some important questions that have not been answered, Is everyone else ready to begin? What exactly are we doing? How will we get there?
Opening a meeting also requires preparation and communication because to move forward requires “buy-in” from the group. So, whether you are the group’s facilitator or chairperson (co-chairs) there are some basic tenets to getting a meeting started.
First, have everyone introduce themselves. Sounds simple, but don’t assume everyone knows each other. Especially if the meeting involves others from different parts of your organization. Also, in our meeting next week, there are four new participants from the May 2018 meeting.
In our experience we use introductions to ask these questions like,
1) tell us your name;
2) what you do;
and 3) what your expectations for the meeting
Let’s focus on #3. Why is that question important? The best way we can answer that is while I know why I am in this meeting do I really know why you are there? Don’t guess and don’t assume; let them tell you. Even if their response is “I don’t know” or I am here to find out, at least now the group knows that.
Now, you may ask doesn’t this take time and we may be on a strict time constraint. Short answer is yes. Also, you may have a lot of people in the room (which in itself may be a problem) therefore, getting expectations may not always be realistic. However, should you do this, remember this one rule, these expectations are not up for debate. Your only objective here is to listen and learn what others expect.
Once introductions are done it’s a good idea to reinforce and/or establish roles and responsibilities. Is there a group leader(s) who will lead the discussion, does the group have a facilitator and recorder, who is the group’s timekeeper ensuring you have enough time to discuss the issues? These are critical roles to any group’s success. Everyone needs to understand and be on board with who is doing what. The same applies to reviewing/reinforcing behaviors (ground rules) for the meeting.
So, we have introduced each other, established roles and reinforced our ground rules. Now, and maybe most critical we need to review the agenda.
Most meetings occur at least several days and/or weeks after the agenda has been prepared and sent to the group. Workplace issues can and do change during that time and these changes could impact your meeting. There can also be new issues that arise after the agenda has been prepared that could also impact your meeting.
Connect with us today. Follow this link to take advantage of our discount price for first time Clients. We look forward to assisting you.By taking the time to review the agenda we can make everyone aware of these issues and allow the group together to amend the agenda to reflect these changes. Remember the Agenda is like GPS in that while it guides you, we still do the driving. And haven’t we all because of unforeseen circumstance needed to change directions to get where we want to go.
And once again even with the “simple” task of opening/starting a meeting, we can see the importance of effective communication in helping us meet our objectives.
So, until next time I & I Resolutions remain committed to helping groups resolve their issues and become more productive.
We’d like to hear from you. Are you finding it difficult to navigate through your meetings?
Does communication seem to be a challenge?
Why not take advantage of our First Time Complimentary Consultation Service? We are standing by to get your questions answered!
Just came back from Montreal Jazz Festival. Survived heat wave while listening to incredible music with artists from Canada, US, England, Columbia and even Australia. In thinking about our next blog, realized that playing music in a band is a lot like being a team member in your organization.
How, you ask. Well consider you have a diverse group of musicians, and they play different instruments. Yet, their goal is for each of them to contribute to music you will listen to. Now in your organization a diverse group of employees with different skill sets. And you each contribute to what the mission is. Further even when one musician steps out for a solo, it’s done within the context of the whole song. Again, when an individual takes a lead on a presentation or project, it’s done within the context of the whole project.
Also, I think we all agree musicians do not simply come together and make great music immediately. Just taking a wild guess, took many hours of practice. Having to learn each other’s needs & strengths and how to mesh them towards the music. Another guess, that journey had some conflict and they had to work through that also.
Now, in your organization, don’t you need to learn each other’s needs and strengths to reach your objective. And to reach that goal, won’t there be conflict you must deal with and resolve. The answer to both those questions is YES.
So, the next time you are listening to and enjoying music, just think about what it took to make that music and how that is similar to what we all should be should be doing.
At I & I Resolutions, we cannot make you great musicians, however, we can help your organization work together, including helping you resolve those conflicts that can prevent you from accomplishing your goal. So, let's connect and discuss ways we can bring you closer to your objectives.
Until the next time from the table of Thomas and Andy, to quote the Doobie Brothers, “Listen to the Music.” Take care and talk soon.
We recently attended a conference on labor-management relations where one of the topics was labor-management cooperation. Part of that discussion was on why the Obama Executive Order 13522 to create labor-management forums was rescinded with the reason being the goal of cooperation was not working. And our reaction was, what???
For the hundreds of groups, we have worked with, not once has their objective been collaboration. No, they wanted to solve a problem, make a decision, come up with a recommendation, tangible results. Collaboration was the right strategy to reach those objectives.
One of our pet peeves (we have a few) is when people who don’t believe in working together describe collaboration as that “touchy feely” stuff or singing kumbaya. Yes, we believe in working together and we believe an interest-based approach is the BEST way to resolve problems. Now let’s actually look at what an interest-based approach is, a process by which participants work to SOLVE PROBLEMS while simultaneously fulfilling their needs and attempting to satisfy the needs of others.
Let’s be clear, the objective when using an interest-based approach is to solve a problem. And by solving that problem we need to work with others to address and meet each other’s interests. Easy to understand, hard to do. Try to get together with family & friends about where you want to go to dinner. See what happens when you don’t agree on the same place and have to work to come up with a solution.
When it works (and it does work) the tangible result is the problem being solved, the intangible result is learning to work together to resolve the problem (collaboration).
So, to wrap up, we believe the best results come from working together. We also believe that collaboration has to result in agency, company, organization working better. At I & I Resolutions we can help you design those strategies that can help you resolve issues while also improving your relationship. Connect with Us
Until the next time from Thomas and Andy, have a great day.
Long ago, I heard the following story. A manager asks a scientist, mathematician and labor relations specialist/lawyer or union official (pick one) what is 2 +2. The scientist goes through many scientific equations and theories and comes up with 4. The mathematician does the same. The labor folks look the manager in the eye, close the door to the office and asks, “What do you want it to be?”
That story resonates when you think about labor law v. labor relations. Many of us know the law, and we can read the cases. But who determines the law? Arbitrators, judges, administrative agencies. Even if they are deciding “precedent” setting cases, should that decide what our relationship should be. So, let’s ask the critical question, who determines our work relationships?
Several weeks ago, we did some training for an agency and union officials that included communication/problem-solving training. After the session, a manager told us that he recently asked his employees & managers what prevented them from doing their job and the #1 response was the inability to work with others, lack of communication and trust. In other words, the RELATIONSHIP, not the law.
So, again not diminishing the importance of knowing what our rights are or having the technical skills & equipment to do our jobs, the key component to doing our jobs effectively is our ability to work with others and develop those relationships. It’s those pesky soft-skills that have too many rolling their eyes when they hear that term. Another question; if these are soft skills, why are they so hard to learn and implement? We can answer that question for another time.
However, back to the question of who determines our relationship. The simple answer is easy, we do. The more difficult question is what kind of relationship do we want? We can choose to have third-parties make decisions for us. Pretty easy. Or we can make the effort and develop a relationship that benefits everyone involved. Pretty hard, yet not impossible.
At I & I Resolutions, we will work with you to develop that relationship by providing the skills that will allow you to do your jobs. Our slogan, “We care because you matter”, is not just words. It’s a philosophy that we believe in, and work towards.
Until the next time from the table of Thomas & Andy, Happy Memorial Day.
In 2004, Boston Red Sox Manager Terry Francona told Derek Lowe he would not be in the starting rotation when the playoffs began, despite him starting all year. When asked how he handled that decision, Francona replied, “The reason you build a good working relationship through communication is there are times you are going to have to deliver bad news.”
Think about that situation and apply it your organization. Should not your most important business paradigm be establishing and maintaining good working relationship both with external and internal customers? Yet, in our 60+ year- experience, the one mantra we hear time and again, “we must get the work out.”
Is It important to do one’s job? Of course, it is. The critical question is how does that happen? We don’t know anyone who works in a vacuum, so what we do more often than not requires working with others, including the ability to communicate and even deliver “bad news.” What some call “soft skills”. Well, those soft skills like active listening, asking the right questions, giving feedback, discussing and working through interests are what’s important to working together to resolve issues. The problem, concept is easy to understand, too often difficult to do.
The work you do is important. It’s tough under the best circumstances. In less than ideal situations, think of the barriers you face. So, it seems like a good idea to have those pesky soft skills. In fact, we would argue it’s those “soft” skills that help you get through the hard problems.
At I & I Resolutions our goal is to work with you to develop those skills that allow you focus on your ability to “get the work out.”
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