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Steal This: 5 Questions for Staff Meetings

by Jennifer Hutchins

After becoming a parent, I discovered surprisingly basic things that no one bothered to tell me: 1. clothes management–it takes way more time than you think, 2. skills development–they won’t learn to ride a bike unless you teach them (whoops!), and 3. strength identification–kids remember really obscure things. Similarly, when I became MANP’s executive director, I realized that one basic task was harder than I thought: leading staff meetings.

At first blush, it seems easy, right? Just Google it. Well, turns out there’s lots of advice out there, especially faced with the universal American workplace attitude: “Ugh! Another meeting?! This better not waste my time!” Well, here are the five questions I settled on to frame biweekly check-ins with our management team:

  1. What are you proud of?
  2. What have you learned recently?
  3. What’s keeping you up at night?
  4. What’s your top priority right now?
  5. What requires input from this group to move forward?

While answers to the first four are kept brief, they help us take stock of recent accomplishments, gain insight into how others are faring, and consider ways to lighten our loads. The fifth usually involves longer discussion, but framed this way keeps us focused on the future rather than dwelling in the past.

While certainly not perfect, this seems to be working for the time being. At least, no one has rolled their eyes at me recently when I call out: “Staff meeting!” Oh, I still get the eye roll, but it’s from my tween who’s miffed that her favorite jeans are dirty. Yeesh. Kids and clothes management!

P.S. Please let us know if you have any recommendations for running efficient, effective team meetings. It takes a village.

2 thoughts on “Steal This: 5 Questions for Staff Meetings

Steve Mortimer says:

Simple, yet incredibly effective, educational, helpful.

Thanks for sharing, Jen!

(I ask 3 & 4 when I’m interviewing senior execs regarding prospective consulting projects. Generally very informative.)

Bill Longfellow says:

Great idea. Thank you. I will use these in my next check in with staff.

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