Most of us dread the weekly staff meeting. "Just get me out of there asap so I can get back to actually doing the work and making things happen" is the attitude many of us have. I know from experience.... Reality is, most staff meetings are boring, monotonous, just one person blabbing, and ultimately a waste of time.
When I was leading Catalyst day to day, I'm not sure I would have wanted to attend the staff meetings I was leading. Lots of times they were boring, awkward, and not very inspiring. It's one of the things I look back on and would definitely give myself a failing grade in.
So after some time to think how I would have created these differently, here are a few thoughts:
1. Let team members tell stories of impact, change, and specific ways they (and you and we) are all accomplishing the mission and vision of the organization, church, non profit or whatever environment you are in.
2. Bring in guest speakers. Whether from the community, other churches, other businesses, locally, or from around the country. Even if just getting people on Skype or on the phone- doesn't have to be in person. I missed it on this one. With all the relationships Catalyst has, I could have lined up guest speakers for months!
3. Create a regular pattern of reading through a book, studying a curriculum, or topically working through Scripture. Make sure you are all doing it together over a 8-12 week period. This allows everyone to have something to work on and also allows everyone to bring thoughts to share to the staff meeting.
4. Allow everyone to brag on each other. This is crucial. A time of letting staff share about other staff. Peer recognition, not just leader recognition. Something they saw or know that other staff members did that they should be acknowledged for, but probably won't be because it wasn't in the "spotlight." Let the team humble brag about one another. And you as the leader have to lead out on this. Hand out ego biscuits on a regular basis!!
5. Have different team members lead the staff meetings every week or every other week. That way different people feel the responsibility and pressure to bring it and make it awesome. Let them shape it however they want. And with each different staff member leading, part of their responsibility is to share their own personal story in front of the team. This allows for relational equity to be built big time.
6. Focus on a specific leadership topic or area of personal growth that the team is dialed into on a weekly basis and working to improve in. And instead of just sharing information, focus on actually solving a leadership problem that currently exists.
7. Return constantly to your mission, vision and core values. Remind everyone of these on a weekly basis. And as the leader, let your personality shine through in the context of WHY you all are doing what you are doing. Give context for the WHY, not just the WHAT.
8. Create Weekly contests. The weekly staff meeting is a launch for a competition, contest, or game for that particular week- in terms of either individual competition or group contests. Can be goofy and fun, or actually more serious tied to team or individual goals.
9. Provide food. Whether it's brought in or cooked on the spot. Food makes the meeting feel more like a meal, and anytime you are gathering around a meal, more good things happen.
10. Watch or listen to sermons, talks, leadership lessons from other leaders and pastors. Can be really inspiring and a great way to create conversation around a certain leadership topic or theme.
11. Celebrate! This is so crucial, and something I always forgot to do. Make the staff meeting a time to celebrate what happened the previous week, that month, or even that year. Teams needs to know they are winning, and moving in the right direction. Your job as the leader is to inspire, and make sure people see that you are actually moving from point A to point B.
What have you found to be helpful in making staff meetings a better experience?