Oh, the best laid-plans… For instance, when you’re running a meeting and it turns out:
- You printed out the wrong agenda
- Two of your key attendees have to leave one hour earlier than expected
- A rapid decision on a complicated topic has to be made while both these attendees are able to participate
- Another of the key attendees cannot be at the meeting at all
At that point, you have to juggle the Order of the Day pretty severely, and as one string gets pulled from the warp, a bit of the weft goes wonky, and the conversations loop and swirl like water currents splashing over rocks in a mountain stream.
Whatever the metaphor, the meeting was effective. Work gots done. People got to have their say. People who had to leave, didn’t feel left out, and the meeting still ended 30 minutes early.
But ’twas mighty hard on the notetaker.
“Why not organize the agenda in the order you actually plan to say things?” asks said notetaker, who is a reasonable, organized person.
I pointed out that some of the docket-juggling was due to the needs of the moment that I couldn’t have planned for, but I get the feeling that wasn’t viewed as sufficient justification. Honestly, my goal is to get enough committees functioning that I just ask them to give me reports of what they’ve accomplished, and I don’t have to provide both the structure and the content for these sessions….but it’s a work in progress, and most of the group understands this.