A few months back I decided to review the way I held meetings for CyberNorth. There were three key groups, all meeting on different days, when diaries permitted and the number of attendees had been falling. It was taking so much time and effort to pull it all together that I had to try something different. I can’t afford the time.
The three groups are the Steering Group, the Skills Woeking Group and the Innovaytion Delivery Partnership.
I don’t know what possessed me but I came up with the idea of holding all the meetings on the same day, one after the other in short bursts of 40 minutes. At first this seemed like a crazy idea and looking back it was yet there is something in it.
Firstly I was able to pick the same time and day every month which helped with forward planning. Secondly I reduced the time commitment for those attending to 40 minutes. Thirdly, those that attended more than one of the groups could blank out the time without being over committed. Fourthly I was able to reuse some of the compliments from each meeting for the next.
Whilst each meeting was on a different topic and a different, though not necessarily a different audience, a lot of the content overlaps. For example I give a general update on how the cluster is going at the start of each meeting and now I use the same update. This means I don’t have to go through this at each event, taking time away from the decision making that is required.
Has this made any difference? Yes, absolutely. Whilst numbers turning up haven’t increased significantly the quality of the meetings has improved. We have more time to focus on things that really matter and it has made it easier for me to organise things in advance. Jumping from one meeting to the next in rapid succession has been an interesting challenge yet this has meant that each one has a drop dead time and cannot run over.
It’s early days for the changes and too soon to say whether or not I will continue this way. I am also carrying out a review of the Innovation Delivery Partnership and so things may change yet again.
In the meantime, it has certainly been an interesting experiment.