Around The Table

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Around The Table

Have you ever sat around a table with other people and thought to yourself, “Why am I here?” or maybe “Should I really be wasting my time in this meeting?” How do you create the right atmosphere for a meeting around the table? In my experience, there are two parts involved in answering this question.

  • Who should attend? The first part involves getting the right people involved in this conversation around the table. I have seen too many meetings fail to include all the necessary perspectives to ensure a successful implementation of asking the right questions. I want to help you avoid this at all cost. In my experience, these are the people/roles you might want to hear from and have around the table:
    • People with knowledge about how your organization works today. 
    • People who are willing to do the “work.” and not just talk. 
    • People who have the authority to commit to a new way of doing things and hold people accountable.


  • How do I run the meeting? The second part involves asking the right questions. In many of my meetings I often ask these questions:
    • What does your organization do well and wish to maintain? This might be a list of ideas like product development, instruction, assimilation of people, helping children, thinking groups, etc.
    • What are the organizational objectives you want to improve… this year–in three years? Other organizational goals often involve topics like revenue, community/connection, volunteerism, etc.
    • Are there any elements in the organization you would like to get rid of? I am not talking about certain people you work with!!! Sometimes there are processes “we have always done” that don’t add any real value anymore. Now is a great time to streamline those activities, ideas, and functions to ensure you are getting the most out of your people, processes, and tools.
    • What are the key benchmarks you would like to reach? These might be numerical measures like attendance rates, giving, community service, small group participation; or they might be more subjective measures.

You’ll notice that these questions are not about innovation, but rather an application. This formative thinking will eventually lead to proper innovation. The point is to start the conversation around the organizational table, and then talk about how those around the table can work together.

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