We started with two handouts: the first contained a vision statement and the Willow Creek quotation – see Saturday's blog. The vision had been developed several years ago and, although appearing on regular newssheets etc, is not at the front of people's minds. The second handout identified a set of leadership skills with the opportunity for each member to assess their standard on a scale of 1 to 10, together with a target score (which may be higher or lower than the current) and a space for an action plan to increase or decrease their current score by 1 point. We didn't spend much time on these: it was suggested that everyone has a go at scoring themselves after the meeting.
We also discussed the “Yes, and” concept – and I had provided a penalty box.
Then we got into the meat of the meeting (and the supper!) During the following 90 minutes or so we covered a number of significant issues with very wide-ranging discussion, mostly very much to the point. Everyone participated very openly and in general the debate was positive. We didn't use the penalty box in anger although there were a number of times when the discussion was nearer “yes, but” rather than “yes, and.” Nevertheless we came to a number of very positive decisions or agreed on a set of actions to resolve the issues.
After the meeting proper, I used a technique I have used with Young Enterprise when reviewing their progress: I asked each member to spend one minute recording what had gone well for them and what had gone badly. The comments were very encouraging. In summary, the following went well: covered lots, everyone participated, got results from discussions, fellowship, eye contact, open – no “under-table” chat, everyone was allowed to speak, plans of action, aims/vision clear, team effort; these were the 'went badly' items: diverted into unnecessary detail, wandering, got lost somewhere in choir discussion, talking over/2 meetings.
So, much more positive than negative. And in the more general comments I sensed that everyone thought it was a very good meeting. The only actions we could agree to build on the positives and fix the negatives were to have a published agenda for the next meeting, and for everyone to send items in for this ahead of the meeting.