In addition to my math teaching, I also co-lead grade team meetings. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make meetings more interactive and more useful for fellow staff. I sometimes feel awkward when meetings become talking “at” staff rather than active, working time where staff are engaged.
When I’m in a really good group exercise class, I sometimes think about the lesson planning that must have gone into it. In those really good group exercise classes, we’re spectators in that we are not conversing or verbally sharing ideas, but we are working our butts off. I think we’ve all had classes where we know we can phone it in because the instructor doesn’t vary the workouts, the energy in the room is low, or we don’t understand what we are supposed to be doing.
So how do we move the meetings away from spectating and more to doing?
From this article:
2. Keep meetings as small as possible.
Jobs had a disdain for meetings that had too many people. He wanted people to be working, not passively sitting in a boardroom. If people didn’t have a lot to contribute, they’re better off spending time somewhere else.
During a weekly meeting with Apple’s ad agency, Jobs surveyed the room and found someone that did not normally attend. After asking who she was, he curtly replied, “I don’t think we need you in this meeting” then went back to his agenda without skipping a beat. But he also applied this standard to himself when faced with overpopulated meetings. Invited by President Obama to a meeting with other tech luminaries, Jobs famously declined because he felt that the invitation list had grown too long.
He had zero tolerance for spectators, even if that spectator was himself. Everyone in the meeting has to be an essential participant who can add value.