Wednesday, 16 September 2009

501 and not out...

I think I've now sat through - and chaired at least 120 of them - more than 500 Senior Leadership meetings in schools. I'm lucky enough to have worked with a very talented bunch of individuals during the last 13 years who've made a significant impact on the schools where we worked together (Sawtry Community College, Robert Smyth School, Hereward Community College and the Thomas Deacon Academy)... but I don't think any of those institutions managed to make the most of us gathering together for a precious 90/120 minutes every week.

Given that these gatherings have the capacity to usher in so much good - and badly done cause so much harm - I don't think there is enough consideration of the skill/science/art of 'meeting leadership'.

One element of a 360-degree leadership review we did at Hereward (led by Mark Robb) enabled my team to say that although they appreciated our free-ranging discussions around topics, too often we didn't get decent outcomes because we didn't all know what we were trying to do... consider viewpoints, get a decision, raise concerns, explore a concept... from the stripped-bare agenda item which might say '2010 Timetable'! Mark's simple - but valuable - advice was that each agenda item should have a stated intended outcome... alternatives for the above item could be outcome: identify core isues for 2010 timetable restrucuture OR plan timeline for construction of next year's timetable OR allocate responsibilities for timetable planning process. We tried to follow his advice, with some success and I retain it as a model for many meetings I lead now.

The rambling, roundabout discussions need other tools to give them direction...De Bono's Thinking Hats work but that's another story....


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