‘Effective and efficient work and role meetings’
Have you spent years looking for a meeting format that lets you discuss matters as equals, involve employees in making and evaluating agreements that affect them, develop and strengthen ownership, in which agreements are actually supported and implemented and you can benefit from the collective wisdom of the group to make effective decisions, as well as make genuine progress and where all information is available to everyone sitting (or standing) around the table? This meeting format does in fact exist and is used at Stanwick.
Organisations are continuously looking for ways to navigate the complexity of business, increase employee involvement and, above all, adapt to continually changing external context. Such governance systems (based on, for example, Holacracy and/or Sociocracy) rely on two important pillars:
- An organisational structure based on progressive insight and, consequently, continuous (organic) evolution
- A meeting structure that allows for fast and dynamic management and adjustments
In these dynamic and ‘flexible’ meeting structures, we distinguish between work and role meetings. Work meetings are held frequently and focus exclusively on operational work IN the organisation, while role meetings are less frequent and focus on work ON the organisation, a form of permanent organisational development, as it were. Both meeting formats aim to overcome barriers in work and collaboration. Concretely, ‘tensions’ are put on the agenda and addressed at work meetings on an ad hoc basis to enable the team to make progress, i.e. the focus is on operational daily work. Issues that require changes to the organisational design or that present obstacles to performing effectively in a role are discussed during role meetings. These are two different meeting formats that are usually combined at present, but separating the two types of discussions creates much more clarity.
Role and work meetings each have their own specific rules of play and the strict approach guarantees an efficient meeting process with two important roles: the role of the facilitator, who monitors the structure and rules of play, and the secretary, who records decisions and maintains an overview of agreements made. Both meeting formats share a number of aspects:
- A check-in moment: bring up issues that require attention, with the aim of crossing them off the list afterwards.
- A closing round (or check-out): reviewing the quality of the meeting and identifying any points for improvement.
- Preparing the agenda together with all those present in order to guarantee that issues in dire need of attention at that time are actually addressed. In other words, the agenda items are based on the current reality.
- A distinctive feature is that perfection is not pursued (the starting point is 'good enough for now, safe to try') and that 'tensions' are always addressed one at a time and with only one owner – no matter how minor the step forward, the organisation develops organically and with progressive insight.
To create and maintain flexible organisations, we once again wish to emphasise the importance and significance of the role meeting – a regular discussion on the pre-designed and defined responsibilities and authorities within the team. Every team member can formulate proposals to change, add or even discontinue roles. This meeting contributes significantly to the development of shared leadership and the necessary agility of the team.