A Placemat For Putting Expectations In Place

Creating a Shared Expectation for a Meeting Decision Making Process

That was my intent anyway.

So I created an 11×17 placemat (below), laminated them so as to be spill-proof, and handed them out when it was my turn to run ISPI Board Meetings (April 2003 – April 2004) as the President of the Society. The one below is an update to my earlier version – after sharing the initial version with my Board and getting their feedback in my first meeting as leader. I have previously posted on this – here in 2007 and here in 2011.

Probably shouldn’t have laminated that first iteration – as it seemed to me that it seemed to others – that it “locked” the process and wording into stone. Lesson Learned – and now Shared. Lamination = Set in Stone.

I had seen too many “Heated Agreements” in prior Board Meetings and had hoped to truncate them – by bringing up an Agenda Item and doing a quick 30-second Round to enable all to let the rest of us know where they were at on this item.

You know what a Heated Agreement is don’t you?

Where two or more people get kinda hot about some topic and eventually, after much heat has been dispersed and offenses taken, they determine that they are actually in agreement with each other.

It’s usually the Semantics that trips them up.

The Discussion Process

See side 2 below for The Process:

  • Bring up the topic and intent (FYI, Decision now or later, etc.) by the Topic Owner (whoever put this item on the Agenda)
  • 30 Second Round by everyone in some systematic order to tell us your initial thoughts, questions, comments, concerns
  • Full Discussion (as needed) to make your case regarding the topic and to convince everyone of the brilliance of your view (Just Kidding)
  • 30 Second Round to let us all know where you are at now
  • Summary of what was heard by all (all points of View)
  • Decision/Motions-Voting/Other, etc. (appropriate to what the intent was)

Of course, if you don’t like structure and some level of predictability – you could simply opt for chaos.

Whatever – Whenever – However.

Or you could let your group do that for a while – and then when it is timely – as timing is often EVERYTHING – you could spring this on them – or your version of same.

Your proposed DRAFT version of this that is.

The 1st 30 Second Round – Is Critical IMO

If we were all pretty much in agreement – there was less need for someone to “hog the agenda time” with their floor time – and go deep with all of their reasons for why we should Decide “X” on this, as we continued/if we continued with discussion on that topic.

If I – the President – held everyone to that first 30 seconds limit – then we could all take the “collective pulse” – and then move on, as appropriate.

And I could give everyone time for “their say” in the matter. And that would end the unfortunate situation that sometimes happened – someone would not get any time for their say – as the Leader moved us along the agenda as we fell behind.

I saw the unhappiness that sometimes resulted from that (I had been on this Board for 3 years by the time it became my turn). Not a good thing for Team/Group morale.

Adopt What You Can – And Adapt the Rest

I was asked by others at ISPI back in those days to make versions of this for them and their needs – and last night I got an email from a former colleague for copies for their use in a new job.

It took me two minutes to find the PNG versions and 30 minutes to find the PPT version – that I had archived off on to a hard drive – so that they could Adapt this more easily to their needs.

If you’d like the PowerPoint version of this – here it is:

Placemat – For Meetings Decision Making – ISPI 2003 Example For Sharing – 2012 (PTT)

And – attributions as the source – would be nice.

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