[Some of the ideas here are reflected in this article on Committee Chairs, too.]
I spoke at our Federation’s annual meeting last night, and said something that earned a surprised laugh from a few participants: I Love Meetings.
But it’s true – I do.
Not all meetings, of course; I can’t stand meetings that have no agenda, meetings that are for the sake of meeting, meetings that never lead to action, meetings that serve the primary purpose of having people rehash past discussion or past accomplishments or irrelevancies. I have no stomach for sitting in a room for 45 minutes, an hour, an hour and a half or more, only to come out wondering what we accomplished.
But I love meetings that are well-planned, that involve passionate, creative people, that lead to a concrete purpose.
I love learning from other people’s thoughts. At this stage in life I know my own ideas fairly well, and I grow far more from hearing what other people believe and want. I certainly learn much from the words they choose to phrase their ideas, and the methods they develop for achieving their goals.
I love being motivated by people who are passionate about their goals, even if their goals are not relevant for me, and even if their goals are the opposite of mine. I may disagree, even vehemently, but it’s energizing and inspiring to hear people put forth a reasoned argument in which they really believe, without pretense and without arrogance.
I love feeling like I am part of a hard-working team, a group that is dedicated to developing a thoughtful approach to solve a problem. I love working with people who do their jobs between meetings, so that they come in with a full report on the things the rest of the team needs to know in order to move the operation forward.
I love watching a chair who knows what she is doing, who taps people for jobs not because they raised their hand but because they are best suited for the task, who devises clear priorities and procedures, updates everyone in a timely and helpful manner, and keeps the process moving.
I am playing with an idea, some type of leadership development program in which we could bring kids – early teens – to serious community meetings, and have them observe as well as contribute. Perhaps that would help them see what I see, become inspired as I am, and grow up to love meetings, too.