Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Things I've learned: ending a Board Meeting

". . . that's our last item of business. Is there a motion to adjourn?"

"So moved!"

"Second!"

"All those in favor?"

At this point, Brother Z clears his throat. "Pastor, there's just one more thing."

Everybody groans and sits down . . . because everybody knows they're going to spend the next half-hour dealing with Brother Z's "one more thing."

Sound familiar?

Every church I've ever attended had a Brother (or Sister) Z -- someone who is old, respected, and determined to have their way.

And one of the ways they show who's boss is by controlling when the meetings ends; that's why they always bring up "one more thing" just at the time when when everybody else is ready to go home.

To be sure, everybody does this some of the time -- it's just that Brother Z does this all of the time.

Then too, Brother's Z often brings up items that need to be addressed; unfortunately, he does so at a time when people are tired, stressed, and unwilling to give those items the time and attention they deserve.

That's why I've found it best to give Brother Z more control . . . within limits.
  1. When I'm typing the agenda, for instance, I call Brother Z and ask if there's anything that should be on it.
  2. Before the meeting begins (and you can count on Brother Z always being there bright and early), I ask him if there's anything else that should be on the agenda.
  3. And when we've finished the reports and are ready to move into Old Business, I stop and ask everyone, "Just to make sure there aren't any surprises, does anybody have anything else for the agenda?"
Most of the time, that solves the problem -- and if it doesn't, it allows you to smile when Brother Z says "there's just one more thing."

Yes, you smile.

You listen.

And if it's something that can wait until the next meeting (which it usually is), then you wait until Brother Z has stopped talking and say, "That's something we really need to discuss . . . at a time when we can give it all the attention it deserves. That's why I'm going to put it on the top of the agenda for our next meeting. All those in favor of the motion to adjourn say 'aye'?"

"Aye!"

And when the motion passes (as it always does), you look Brother Z in the eye and say, "I will be sure to put that on the agenda for our next meeting -- and if there's anything else, give me a call."

He will.

But if he doesn't, you call him.

In short, your goal is to take a relationship based on control, and replace it with respect for each other.

All in favor?

Meeting adjourned.

3 comments:

richies said...

Thank you for such a common sense approach to that problem

An Arkies Musings

Nick said...

This sounds familiar? Get it from Stuff Christians Like?

Pastor Greg said...

Nope, just me.