Yesterday’s meeting went well, if quite differently than anticipated. I prepared a two-sided handout for people, with “before the presentation” and “after the presentation” items to complete. The “before” side asked for questions about the organization’s mission and strategy (and I told people to come up with three questions even if they thought they didn’t have any questions), and instructed people to briefly list their top three projects and how they assumed it mapped to organizational goals.
The ED then began his presentation, which was *much* longer than I anticipated and much more engaging as well. People were hungry for information about the theory of change and the five-year strategy, and were good at asking questions throughout the presentation. In fact, this continued for the remainder of the allotted meeting time, though I was given about eight minutes to continue with the “after” questions.
Rather than rush through more prepared material, I just opened the floor to comments, and asked that people review their initial three questions to see whether they’d been covered. As it turned out, there was plenty of fertile material in their “before” questions, which generated more discussion. As we weren’t being kicked out of the room yet, we asked people to bring up examples of how their work mapped to the theory and strategy. It turned out that several people were working on items that were listed on the chart, but were marked as de-prioritized and to be handled in the future — an eye-opening result.
The meeting ran over by a substantial amount, and finally ended from desperate bio-needs and fatigue. Everyone I polled afterward, however, said they loved the meeting and what they got out of it. In short, I think the meeting would have been fine without the forced addition of my handout, but the pre-presentation thinking did turn out to provide fodder and keep people looking for the strategic goals that correlated to their work.
As for me, I would prefer not to do this in such a rush, but it was absolutely golden to get thoughts from everyone in the group, as well as Rebecca, and I was much more relaxed and willing to experiment as a result of the bootcamp. It was also a kick to get to report to the ED that the bootcampers had devoted a portion of the morning to this meeting. Many thanks to all of you!