MidAmerica Webinar Rev. Dr. Lisa PresleyDistrict Executive, Heartland
Tonight’s Webinar Look at our assumptions and habits of meetings How to make meetings more inclusive How to run efficient meetings Parliamentary Procedure Roberts Rules: What they really say! Consensus: What it really is!
Meetings: Why? As member-based organizations, meetings are the way things get done We make a lot of assumptions about meetings—what should happen, when they should happen, who does what Time to open up that can of worms Always can improve how we do what we intend to do All we do is for theological deepening and transformation
Assumptions and Habits We must have committees and meetings What about Task Groups or Work Partners? Meetings must happen every month, no matter what Could switch to quarterly or electronic The committee members are the ones to do the work Separate workers from organizers—different skill sets Committees have to last as long as it takes to do the work Review every committee at least every other year for relevance
Enjoyable Meetings Build in social time Pre-meeting social hour? Snacks? Worship service before on meeting night Encourage appropriate laughter Approach with lightness, not dread Again, approach from religious perspective: how are we growing our spirits?
Inclusive Meetings Always ask who isn’t present? Make sure not ruling out historically marginalized folks Put a chair at the table for the voices not there Ask questions that will elicit the views of those not present Accommodations: Where held—accessible in broadest sense? What about children? Time and date issues Virtual meeting possible?
Efficient Meetings Realize meetings serve a variety of purposes: Social Connect members Allow participatory leadership Get things done Legal requirement Achieve something spectacular Deepen our spirits Need to make space for all of this to happen
Efficient Meetings Realize people approach differently: Leap to quick understanding Mull over for unintended consequences Want decisions Want dialog Think quickly/slowly Speak to know what thinking Think to know what to say Need to make space for all of this to happen
Efficient Meetings: Prepare Build Agenda carefully Check minutes for old business Solicit ideas and issues from others Add suggested time limits – no more than 90 minutes of work! Send Agenda and documents out in advance Rule of thumb: don’t decide anything important in same meeting presented unless absolutely necessary Consider advance session to inform folks: town hall Agree on Rules before starting meeting (more later)
Effective Meetings: There Create a covenant for how you will be together; review regularly Start religiously: On time (time-ish) Chalice Lighting Check In Theological Reflection End well: Check out, including task review and reassignment Closing reading
Efficient Meetings: There Ensure everyone is involved appropriately Ask input from everyone Institute ―step up, step back‖ awareness Encourage ―Angel’s Advocates‖ Three good things about idea How would we be better if this was chosen/worked? Appoint timekeeper and Process Observer Empower everyone to keep time and observe
Efficient Meetings: After Make sure notes/minutes are circulated quickly Include a ―task list‖ that reminds folks of commitments Follow up with folks as appropriate Share the news with others Confirm the date of the next meeting (if any!) Do what you said you’d do; if you can’t, let folks know as soon as possible so alternate plans can be made
Efficient Meetings: Rules Ensure you know what Rules will govern your meetings: Roberts? Consensus? Roberta’s Rules? Others? Make sure that you have: Parliamentarian who can assist with understanding the Rules Training for those running, and those attending
Robert’s Rules Who was Robert, and why his rules? Henry Martyn Robert, Army Engineer Motivated by failure Created own set 1876 Now in 11th Version with forward by Henry M. Robert III (!) Direct line of succession in creating new versions Often default way of decision making
Robert’s Rules Basic Premises: No one speaks without recognition—no shouting out Always need a motion to discuss anything, & second No one speaks a second time until all heard, unless Chair agrees Chair may call upon whomever as often as want to clarify issues Only members have privilege of floor, but Chair may allow others to speak Point of Information: when don’t understand things
Robert’s Rules Point of Personal Privilege: when need something Moving the previous question, with Chair recognition; not debatable; 2/3 to pass Need to be polite! Chair may call for the vote without moving the previous question, especially when no one waiting to speak Point of Order when think not following Rules – can interrupt!
Robert’s Rules No ―friendly amendment‖ under Robert’s Can make amendments to motion Can withdraw original motion and then move new one Abstentions: Don’t need to call for them unless requested Do not count in the vote—if more vote for than against, it passes (subject to plurality required)
Robert’s rules Customary role for Chair: Doesn’t make or second motions (though can) Steps out of chair when wishes to speak on issue Can break a tie in vote, but doesn’t need to Getting rid of motion: Withdrawn by mover Voting against Tabling (though can be brought back) Postpone (to particular time) Postpone indefinitely (basically kills the motion)
Consensus Model Conditions necessary for consensus governance: Common goal Commitment to reach consensus Trust and openness Sufficient time Clear process Active participation Good facilitation
Consensus Process Introduce and clarify issues Explore issue and look for ideas Look for emerging proposals Discuss, clarify and amend proposal Test for agreement If agreement, then implement If no agreement, back to emerging proposals for other options/agreements
Consensus Decision Not just everyone agreeing, but shades of agreement/disagreement: Agreement: this is what we should do Non-support: don’t see need, but will go along Reservations: might be mistake, but can live with it Standing aside: can’t do personally, but won’t stop others Blocking: cannot support or allow group to support; it is immoral, wrong Withdrawing: must leave if this occurs
Consensus Review If don’t come to an agreement/consensus, then follow whatever pre-existing decision or, if none, then do not act at all Takes time to reach; not good for quick decisions Requires deep commitment by members Appreciates complexity of situations Can be a powerful way of participating, and when reach consensus, often have greater buy-in and participation
Robert’s vs. Consensus Need clear and shared articulation of when you use which (or whatever rules you choose) What do your bylaws say about specific things such as quorum, calling a minister, purchase/sale of property If choose consensus as ―default,‖ then what will you do if you don’t find consensus? Regardless: need to teach and learn—it’s not just automatic
Resources Meetings that Work, UUA Publication http://www.uua.org/documents/congservices/meet ingswork.pdf Patrick Lencioni, author of leadership fables Death by Meeting Alban Institute, congregational life think-tank www.alban.org
Q&A What are your questions?
Final Words It has been said democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. Winston Churchill