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We've decided. Haven't We?

For years, my mom rented a house for two weeks on the Jersey shore for all of her kids, their spouses and her grandchildren. It's one reason our family is so close. As my mother loved the beach, and created family there, my sisters and I decided we wanted to celebrate her and our father’s life on the Jersey Shore. My sisters and I gathered on Zoom, picked a date in October, silently congratulated ourselves on coming to that decision and put the date on the calendar. Two days later, it struck me that no-one was responsible for locating a place to stay.

Too many meetings I attend, as a participant or as a coach, operate in a similar manner. A general decision is reached--we will move to having the graduation speakers being young alumni. The decision is justified strategically: The students will identify with a younger speaker more and a recent alum will have more recent relevant experience. After that decision is made, the meeting, prematurely, moves to the next agenda item.

By moving on at this point, it can almost be guaranteed that the decision will not be implemented, at least in a timely fashion. After such a decision, a point person must be named and her responsibilities clearly delineated. In the graduation speaker instance, the leader should be clear about who is in charge of implementing the new graduation speaker policy. She can then ask the point person to create a list of criteria on how to pick an alum speaker and, ideally, produce a list of possible speakers.

Second, that responsibility needs to be recorded with a “not to be accomplished later than” date. (I have given up on due dates which are invitations to wait until the last minute.) And at the next meeting, all the outstanding tasks should be reviewed to be clear on their status. The review of the outstanding tasks for the team is critical. It reminds the team of what is to be accomplished and helps hold the point person accountable.

It is amazing how much more gets done if the person responsible knows they are responsible and is reminded of their responsibility.

By the way, one of my sisters volunteered to find us lodging and is closing in on the perfect house for our gathering.


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