Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Roberta's Rules (6)

Chapter six gets in to the physical details of meeting and making that meeting work. A summary of the chapter is to keep the board happy. There's no reason to stick to all kinds of rules when the basic principle is to create an environment where people can get their work done. The rest of the chapter is basically guidelines for effective email, which can be easily found elsewhere.

Chapter seven goes into how to run a smooth meeting so you can respect people's time. This is really important, actually, yet you run into so many meetings where people aren't respecting others' time and it's really a huge demotivating factor--not very long and you'll notice people aren't showing up for the meetings. So, it's best to make sure these meetings are very productive, even if that means postponing--altho that's not a good option either (my opinion).

Since the author likes these little matrixy model thingies, she gives one on shared roles in meetings.

So you can see that the different roles are outlined as to whether people are dispensing content or encouraging participation.

She quotes from Peter Block, who is quoted in Axelrod (2000).
We act as if "process" and "content" are somehow separate questions, and often at odds with each other.

A good group process is needed wherever two or two hundred people meet, and the tension between process and content is a fool's dilemma. There is no need to choose between the two--both are essential; they fail without each other.
So the author (who I want to keep calling Roberta--but her name is not Roberta, it's Alice) says
Under Robert's Rules of Order a parliamentarian knows all the rules and instructs the group in how to follow them. Under Roberta's Rules of Order, everyone can easily know the rules and the parliamentarian is replaced by the egalitarian, a member of the group who is willing to keep an eye on the process and on how the participation is balanced. While filling this role, the member should generally not participate in the content of the cocnversations, unless he or she steps out of this role temporarily. To tap everyone's expertise, rotate this role frequently.
So staggering this role is her answer to the fool's dilemma.