Robert's Rules and Meeting Management


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  • Welcome to all; won’t go around at the moment; too many folks out there;I am DE of HL; lifelong UU; minister for 20 years; serving my 6th year in HL as DE (two stints)With this many people – won’t be able to stop for comments, or have 70 people ask questions; so – post questions on the chat portion of SlideShare; can stay on for a bit of time after the “official call” or can email me with questions after the fact. Overwhelmed by the numbers; if get through the “prepared” material, will open it up to questions/conversations
  • Recorded webinar – will end up archiving on web for future reference; can use whenever you want; on demand
  • Take Courage Friends: - Wayne Arnason
  • Time and date—after church with hungry kids, night when seniors might not drive, daytime when young adults might be busy, etc.
  • Non-support ("I don't see the need for this, but I'll go along.")Reservations ('I think this may be a mistake but I can live with it.")Standing aside ("I personally can't do this, but I won't stop others from doing it. ")Blocking ("I cannot support this or allow the group to support this. It is immoral." If a final decision violates someone's fundamental moral values they are obligated to block consensus.)Withdrawing from the group. Obviously, if many people express non-support or reservations or stand aside or leave the group, it may not be a viable decision even if no one directly blocks it. This is what is known as a "lukewarm" consensus and it is just as desirable as a lukewarm beer or a lukewarm bath.If consensus is blocked and no new consensus can be reached, the group stays with whatever the previous decision was on the subject, or does nothing if that is applicable. Major philosophical or moral questions that will come up with each affinity group will have to be worked through as soon as the group forms.
  • Robert's Rules and Meeting Management

    1. 1. Webinar onMeeting Management will begin soon!
    2. 2. MidAmerica Webinar Rev. Dr. Lisa PresleyDistrict Executive, Heartland
    3. 3. Central MidWest, Heartland and Prairie Star Districts
    4. 4. Welcome! WelcomeIntroductionsTechnical Issues: Apologies Abound!
    5. 5. MidAmerica Webinar Rev. Dr. Lisa PresleyDistrict Executive, Heartland
    6. 6. Chalice Lighting 
    7. 7. 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!
    8. 8. 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
    9. 9. 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
    10. 10. 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?
    11. 11. 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?
    12. 12. 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
    13. 13. 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
    14. 14. 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)
    15. 15. 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
    16. 16. 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
    17. 17. 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
    18. 18. 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
    19. 19. 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
    20. 20. 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
    21. 21. 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!
    22. 22. 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)
    23. 23. 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)
    24. 24. Consensus Model  Conditions necessary for consensus governance:  Common goal  Commitment to reach consensus  Trust and openness  Sufficient time  Clear process  Active participation  Good facilitation
    25. 25. 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
    26. 26. 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
    27. 27. 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
    28. 28. 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
    29. 29. Resources  Robert’s Rules ―Official‖ website:  Consensus governance Meetings that Work Roberta’s Rules:  Consensus:   /Consensus.html
    30. 30. Resources  Meetings that Work, UUA Publication  ingswork.pdf Patrick Lencioni, author of leadership fables  Death by Meeting Alban Institute, congregational life think-tank 
    31. 31. Q&A  What are your questions?
    32. 32. Final Words It has been said democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried. Winston Churchill