we bring information that is pertinent to others in the district, provide updates on current initiatives, and propose innovative ideas for the group to actively brainstorm. we also use this time to review and refine the district’s multimedia presentations and marketing materials. in contrast to meetings with an agenda—which lock participants into a time frame and specific topics—no-agenda meetings provide: no-agenda meetings work well for small groups. and it’s best if members in this meeting are people who interact with each other frequently. by designating a consistent day and start time, a clear message is sent that no-agenda meetings are an essential component of our district’s improvement efforts. the length of meetings is flexible depending on our conversations. our single expectation is that all team members will be active participants in our discussions and brainstorming sessions.
our superintendent opens our meetings in one of two ways: he shares topics of discussion or asks who would like to share first. members are not required to come with their own action items, but each person has an opportunity to have the floor. the meetings always wrap up with, “is there anything else?” again, this is an opportunity for everyone to bring up things they may not have thought of until they were part of a larger discussion. no-agenda meetings work best with a superintendent who values collaboration and empowers team members to design, create, and problem solve in a solution-driven environment. representatives from the administrators’ and teachers’ unions—the president and an executive board member—are invited to attend the central office no-agenda meeting each month. the union representatives are invited by our superintendent to kick off the discussion. having union and management meet on a monthly basis in a no-agenda meeting provides a vehicle for communication and assures that all staff are kept abreast of district plans and initiatives. success starts with collaboration and innovation.
the first quarterly meeting we held was full of presentations and breakout sessions centered on different topics we knew. while the meetings were successful, we also got a lot of feedback reminding us that we missed several topics and that some of the topics could have used more or less time. and ever since then, it’s become one of the most powerful meeting formats i know. however, open space meetings are great when you are bringing together a group of people who have many different potential topics to discuss and the priorities are not immediately clear. open space meetings are also great when you suspect new topics will come up during the process and you’ll need to re-prioritize them in real time. every open space meeting starts with a discussion of the theme and a brainstorming of topics.
don’t rush this step; often the best topics come up late in this process and after a long moment of silence. the power of an open space meeting is that you are empowering people to talk about what they want to talk about. after the round ends, we regroup and each facilitator presents a short summary of the discussion, key insights, and any recommendations for the larger group. this summary can be handwritten on paper and taped to a wall so people can see the results. you can also have people rate the meeting and suggest changes for future formats. instead, they are a tool you can use when the situation calls for deeper dives into emergent topics.
utilizing meeting agendas to their full potential is a great way to level up your management game. the simple rule to level up is as follows: “ no agenda” doesn’t mean “no purpose”—these meetings foster innovation and open discussion among district leaders. after a few years of agenda-less living, i’ve found there are four key things you must do as a facilitator to run effective meetings without an, no agenda no attenda, no agenda no attenda, no agenda meetup, no agenda meaning, open agenda meeting.
a meeting with no agenda needs good ground rules to stay focused and work well. here are the three that i use. no agenda, no attenda. without question, every meeting must have a clear agenda distributed to attendees in advance. in no-fail meetings, new york times and wall street, this meeting has no agenda, a meeting without an agenda is like, how to ask for agenda items for a meeting, there is no agenda, open agenda meaning, no agenda podcast, should meetings have an agenda, cancelling meeting due to no agenda, no agenda synonym, meeting agenda.
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