Meetings, minute taking and action tracking

Element Descriptor

It’s a necessity for any organisation of more than one person to have a structured way for its members to discuss things, take decisions, decide on actions to be taken, track who is responsible for completing the actions, and progress against them. Together this set of activities may be referred to as a “management system”.

Level descriptors

You understand the importance of having a management system and support the use of it. You can use simple tools to record, manage and track actionsYou can write and populate a basic meeting agenda, update it during the course of the meeting, and agree and record more complex and open ended actions in a helpful wayYou can, with minimal effort, produce meeting materials to support complex and involved discussions, record and track vague and imprecise actions, and remain cheerful throughoutYou always know where you and everyone else is up to with everything. Your meetings run smoothly, to time and with complete understanding on the part of every participant

Element Overview Essay

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So the causes of this not being done well is everyone’s in the groove, everyone thinks that their memory will be fine. Nobody wants to lose the thread of their conversation.

And so one of the consequences of not taking minutes well and not noting down all the actions is that half of them don’t get done, or definitely don’t get done. Even if you take minutes and notes. They still might not but that’s a separate question

This has enormous implications not just to your credibility, and my yourselves and other people, but just your morale and your ability to get things done. And so if you don’t have good ways of capturing agreed actions, and alongside that, well who is going to be responsible? What is the deadline? What is the deadline for asking for support if it’s needed, if you don’t have systems in place for that, so that very soon after a meeting finishes, people have an exact sense of what they as individuals have committed to, then you are going to lose.

So the way to fix this? Well, there are various ways. You might appoint one person to note down all the actions. And it might be someone who’s not involved in the group, but is doing you a favour and then you do the same favour for them. So it might if you know, even just become a “floater skill”. 

Alternatively, if it’s an online meeting, you can all have your action tracker spreadsheet open, and you can all have responsibility for filling in the necessary bits. And the chair can keep one eye to make sure that that’s happening. And also that actions are being assigned to individuals with deadlines, and it’s clear whether a task is being delegated or a problem is being delegated. You’ll get better at this over time. Once you’re good at it, you will impress new people, some new people with how organised you are.

But let’s not lie, there will be other people who feel intimidated. And, “gee, I came along here just to feel good about myself and feel that I was part of the solution.” If those people aren’t willing to be part of actual organised, note taking action tracking, then maybe they’re not the kind of people or at the moment, they’re not really suitable candidates to be in your core group taking on responsibilities. 

Maybe they’re just the kind of people that you would be happy to see at a meeting, at a march at a rally, but not with their hands on the controls in the cockpit. 

And again, this kind of statement is outrageous to certain kinds of people who believe that prefigurative movements must include everyone at all times at all costs. After 25 years of this so I would say to those people, gee, how’s that working out for you?

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