Monday, December 26, 2011

Meeting Frequency: How much time to allocate

One of my early association presidents assigned a 2-day time period to a project that would likely take other associations a year or more to resolve; and it really was accomplished in two days. Her theory: "Groups always take the amount of time you give them. If you say they have a year, they take a year. If you say they have a day, they take a day."

Time and time again I find the time it takes to reach an outcome really is set by the leader or by the association. When I facilitate planning meetings for other associations it's often shocking to me how many still have monthly committee meetings - and it really does take all year to get something finished. One small association had 10 committees that met monthly - that's 120 meetings of committees alone. Staff had no time to do anything but attend meetings and plan for the next ones.

Urging a committee-intense association to try to set shorter time periods for any given association project can be a surprisingly difficult step for many associations to take - either they just don't believe that there is the potential to move forward quickly or they believe that committee members genuinely want (or need) to meet every month and they'll feel less invested without live "progress" meetings.

Tip for the New Year: If you have ANY committee that meets monthly, try to see if two meetings would be better. If it's not, you can always go back. If it is better, that's a lot of unnecessary meeting and volunteer time you have saved - that could be spent implementing instead.

Groups always take the amount of time you give them.

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