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Monday, April 03, 2017

Anticipation or Dread: The Meetings Ahead

I have a couple of meeting this week that I am anticipating with enthusiasm. I don't always anticipate meetings with enthusiasm which made me wonder why I am looking forward to this week's meetings rather than facing the meetings with dread.

I am looking forward to this week's meetings for the following reasons:
  • The meetings were planned with substantial lead time
  • The agenda and meeting plans were also shared with lead time
  • Educators who attend these meetings have substantial voice and choice
  • The expectations for the meetings are realistic and doable
  • The people involved in the meetings are all invested in good teaching and learning related to research-based practice and what's best for students and families
  • The work we do at these meetings translates into meaningful, positive action in good time
When I dread a meeting, the meeting is usually marked by one or more of the following attributes:
  • The meeting efforts go nowhere and the work done is quickly forgotten and not visible in follow-up actions
  • There is little good process
  • Voice and choice is looked down upon and typically the only voices honored are the voices of those who lead the meetings
  • The work is not research-based or connected to good teaching/learning
  • The work is not meaningful, relevant, or forward moving
  • The investment of those at the meeting is questionable or less
It's important to consider the work we do when we lead and/or attend meetings. Do we lead in ways that translate into positive, actionable steps, or do we lead in ways that result in dead ends? Further are we invested in the work of meetings we attend and/or lead, and do we honor the voices of all stakeholders who attend these meetings? Can the work of the meeting be traced back to good research, lead time, information share, and preparation or are the meetings planned with less thought, good rationale, research, or preparation?

Real-time meetings should represent the best possible work we can do, work that is research-based, thoughtful, and positive. We should never waste people's time or invite people to meetings where they have no voice or choice in the matter. And, if a meeting can easily be replaced by an online share, then we should share online and save precious meeting time for events that require dialogue, shared decision making, and greater collaboration.