Run a good meeting. A leadership practice in plain sight.
Want to lead? Run a good meeting.
That’s advice from Ken Phillips, my former boss at Plan USA (when it was Foster Parents Plan). Ken invited me to co-present a workshop with him as part of the AFP ICON 2021. The workshop runs on June 29th from 3:50–5:05 EDT . Unfortunately, all the workshops are prerecorded. But you can ask questions in the chat and we’ll be live to answer them.
Our workshop is called: How to lead your organization to get the internal support you need for fundraising success.
Ken speaks about leadership. I speak directly to how to get what you need and have influence when you aren’t the one at the top, a skill fundraisers desperately need. We both offer cases in which we were able to gain the influence we needed.
But this surprising advice in one of Ken’s lists, “run a good meeting,” jumped out at me.
Have an agenda, Ken said. Start and end on time. Ensure everyone has a chance to participate. Be a good facilitator.
Simple concepts. But powerful.
I’m thinking back to the times I’ve been on boards where my only real interaction with the board chair has been at a meeting. And when that meeting is poorly run, it casts doubt for me on the quality of the board leadership.
Thankfully, I started my nonprofit journey in earnest as a young member of the Area Committee (aka board) of the Rhode Island program of the American Friends Service Committee. I had great role models in the Clerk of the meeting– Quakers have clerks, not chairs or presidents. The Clerk’s job, as a facilitator, is to guide the process toward consensus – consensus of heart and mind.
You can’t ensure that all meetings topics can be covered in the time allotted. But you can be thoughtful about planning the time in advance and sharing that with your team. And, as facilitator, you can always consult meeting participants to make the choice of what they would like to do… keep going on the important discussion, understanding the consequences (postponing another agenda item or staying beyond the allotted time).
So, in addition to the big five leadership practices (thanks to Kouzes and Posner),
- model the way
- inspire a shared vision
- challenge the process
- enable others to act
- encourage the heart
Attend to the small stuff.
Run a good meeting.
Here are a few more tips on meetings:
A meeting menu from the board chair