If you’re a staff member of an organization or synagogue, three dreaded words are “weekly staff meeting.” If you’re a board member, you may not have the same feeling about attending scheduled board meetings, but being at one is probably not on your Top 10 favorite things to do. Why do we allow ourselves to suffer often from board boredom and meeting malaise?
Board and staff meetings are unfulfilling because they are unproductive. Updates that could happen electronically take up too much meeting time. Information that only a couple of people need monopolize staff discussions. Even when meetings are run efficiently, they are not necessarily productive. That’s because essential, strategic issues that require multiple perspectives are not discussed. Instead, meetings become focused on the here and now–here’s how we did it the last time, and now we’re going to do it this way (which is often only incrementally different). The result—people at meeting develop inventive surreptitious ways to check email on their smart phones.
So here’s a challenge for you: cut your meetings by 30% on a trial basis of 6 months. That decrease can take different forms. It can mean shortening existing meetings by 30% or decreasing the number of meetings on your calendar by that number. I can’t guarantee it, but it’s highly probable that you will be much more happy and productive.
For more ideas on how to make the most of meetings, you can read my new book, Tomorrow’s Synagogue Today. Creating Vibrant Centers of Jewish Life.
Rabbi Hayim Herring