Overheard at the 2017 Leadership Razzies

Organizational leaders chair a lot of meetings – it comes with the territory. Running an effective meeting is a demanding artform that really ought to have some annual glittering awards ceremony associated with it. Cue the stirring music – “This year the Leadership Academy’s Award for Most Effective Meeting Chair goes to…”

Hmm, so what would be the equivalent of the Razzie Awards in this field? Let’s listen in to some not-totally-imaginary conversation between our hosts, John and Mo. [All recipients are completely fictitious.]

AGENDAS. “Well Mo, this year the Razzie for the worst Agenda goes to Bill Smith of Wabash, Saskatchewan. Over the last year, Bill maintained an unbroken record of never providing an agenda for his meetings beforehand, thereby ensuring that those attending would always be caught by surprise. To quote the citation, “Bill’s efforts have ensured that we always take at least twice as long to get anything done and you just can’t put a dollar value on the feelings of frustration and disengagement that his efforts have created.”

CONTROL. “John, this year we have an international tie in this category! The first Razzie is awarded to Deirdre Covington of Wantage, Oxfordshire. The citation states: “By consistently suppressing discussion of uncomfortable topics Deirdre has ensured that our meetings are quick and pleasant. Her tireless efforts save us from the dangers of learning anything of importance or of making fully-informed decisions.” The second Razzie goes to Stan Gravellese, of Missoula, Montana. The citation reads: “Stan’s commitment to ensuring that all voices are heard, regardless of their relevance, is legendary. We will never forget our last Annual General Meeting when a question from the floor about membership renewal was addressed by twenty minutes of animated discussion about the merits of the current meeting venue compared to the one used the previous year.”

TIME MANAGEMENT. “Mo, this category is perhaps the most significant of the awards and the judges say that they found it particularly challenging to make a choice this year. So many amazing nominees. However, we do have a winner! This year the Razzie for Worst Time Management by a Meeting Chair goes to Hannah Paltiel, of Ottawa, Ontario. The citation reads: “Ms. Paltiel’s excessively optimistic approach to agenda design, coupled with her utter unwillingness to take control of the discussion ensure that every meeting ends only when all participants have collapsed from exhaustion.”

It’s easy to chuckle at our hapless Razzie winners and we have all suffered through meetings not unlike the ones described above. But, how do the people attending your meetings feel about your performance as the Chair? How would you find out? What changes would you be prepared to make? Chairing a meeting well is a very challenging thing.  Contact me and let’s talk about it!