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God said, “It is good.” He didn’t say, “Oh, it’ll do.”

By John Pearson

The question: “How do you refresh a meeting that’s grown rote?”

The answer: “Break the script.”

At least that’s the wisdom from Chip Heath and Dan Heath in
The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. If you’re on a church board, their “Clinic 2” in this bestselling book is a must-read. I named The Power of Moments my 2017 book-of-the-year. The authors give dozens of examples how organizations, churches, companies, schools, and other groups are breaking the script to create legendary moments for their clients, donors, customers, and members.

What meetings need a major refresh this year in your organization?
• Board meetings?
• Committee meetings?
• Staff meetings?
• Waste-of-time meetings?

Instead of slip-slidin’ into more boring meetings, take a holy time-out and rethink how you could refresh your board meetings. Not every meeting needs to be legendary, but I’m guessing—up to this point—no one has traveled home from your board meeting and exclaimed, “Now that was legendary!”

I use the “W.O.W.” acronym to encourage boards to break the script. You can download the “W.O.W. Factor Meeting Evaluation Form”
online here, or in the Meeting Bucket chapter of Mastering the Management Buckets Workbook. Here’s a sample:

WELCOMING:
[ ] Meeting room was ready 15 minutes before start time.
[ ] Meeting facilitator was prepared and relaxed, ready to greet the first person who arrived. (Why? The meeting begins when the first person arrives.)

ORGANIZED:
[ ] The agenda, meeting purpose and anticipated outcomes of the meeting were distributed at least one to seven days in advance of the meeting to every participant.
[ ] The presenters were well-prepared and any materials distributed were helpful.
[ ] The meeting ended five minutes early.

WARM:
[ ] Food and beverage presentation (if provided) was appropriate.
[ ] Facilitator demonstrated warmth and wisdom in leading the meeting.
[ ] Participants demonstrated warmth and wisdom and engaged in the meeting.

Warning! When someone suggests you add a little pizazz to your meetings, but a nay-sayer whines about the time or cost, the Heaths respond, “Beware the soul-sucking force of reasonableness.” Read The Power of Moments to learn why a hotel in Los Angeles has a poolside Popsicle Hotline, even though a "reasonable" manager would veto the practice. “You place an order, and minutes later, a staffer wearing white gloves delivers your cherry, orange, or grape Popsicles to you at poolside. On a silver tray. For free.”

How important is it that we raise the bar in our meetings?
Don Cousins, in urging ministry leaders to manage God’s work for God’s glory, noted, “Anything less contradicts the Creator, who after creation surveyed his work and said, ‘It is good.’ He didn’t say, ’Oh, it’ll do.’”

BOARD ASSIGNMENT: At your next board meeting, ask one board member to observe the meeting and share an end-of-meeting evaluation—using the “W.O.W. Factor Meeting Evaluation Form,” or something similar.

MORE RESOURCES: Follow the “40 Blogs. 40 Wednesdays.” color commentaries from the new book, Lessons From the Nonprofit Boardroom.
Click here.

 

This article was originally posted on the “Governance of Christ-Centered Organizations” blog, hosted by ECFA.
John Pearson, a board governance consultant and author, was ECFA’s governance blogger from 2011 to 2020.
© 2021, ECFA and John Pearson. All rights reserved.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.

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