Friday, September 21, 2007

More thoughts on meetings

I recognize the element of paradox in my previous posts on strengthening communications and closing meetings that were formerly considered open. This post is a follow-up to share a few more thoughts on this important aspect of our culture.

Communication certainly needs to be strengthened, as it can be in any organization. However, the sense of teamwork also needs to be strengthened, which is why some meetings have been moved from open meetings to what some would call "closed" and I would call staff meetings. The advantages to this approach are multi-fold:

  • in a staff meeting, the group of individuals can interact in a variety of ways that allow them to grow together as a team

  • team members can "muddle" through issues without hesitation or sense of being misunderstood in a more open setting with non-team members sitting in and observing the meeting proceedings and potentially taking things out of context

  • the "closed"nature of the staff meetings places the responsibility on the group leaders to communicate the meeting outcomes in more visible ways to the College community

Hopefully, these potentially positive elements will result in better decisions being made and more consistent and meaningful communications being shared. I recognize only time will tell on this and I will be watching the developments closely.

Additionally, I have received some questions about why I have removed the Vice Presidents from a number of committees. The main filter I've used here is to remove Vice Presidents from committees that generally make recommendations to the Executive Committee (i.e., College Senate, etc.). I feel it is important that committees are allowed to conduct their work in ways in which they feel trusted to do their work versus having VPs participate in making the recommendations that they will be receiving as members of the Executive Committee. I have left the VPs on some other committees that are more like work groups that require perspective from one or more of the VPs (i.e., Campus Safety Committee, etc.). Removing the VPs from some groups also helps to strengthen the positive dynamic and the importance of a well-functioning Executive Committee.

I sincerely appreciate the feedback I've received on this blog thus far. If you have any additional insights or questions on this or other topics, please let me know at presblog@mvcc.edu.