At work, a set of “meeting moves” is changing how we meet:

  • Appointing moderators and scribes. One person steers; the other notes what we did and what agreements we made.
  • Starting meetings with a check-in question. These can be simple (“What’s on your mind?”) or fun (“What are you drinking?”) or profound (“Why does this project matter to you?”). Everyone listens; everyone answers.
  • Limiting status updates to one minute each. We expect most folks to pull status updates from the tools we use to “work out loud” — like Asana and Microsoft Teams.
  • Building an “agenda on the fly.” No compiling or circulating agendas in advance. Anyone can raise a need and have it addressed on the spot.
  • Closing with check-out questions. A favorite: “What did you notice about this meeting?” We notice things to celebrate … and things to change.

These meeting moves are not about efficiency; they’re tools for shaping culture.

  • Appointing moderators and scribes says, “What we do and how we do it matters.”
  • Check-in questions say, “Everyone can speak.”
  • Eliminating status updates says, “We use shared tools and trust adults to keep up.”
  • Building an agenda on the fly says, “Anyone can tell us what’s needed.”
  • Check-out questions say, “We notice. We learn. We improve.”

Set out to change culture, and you get insipid vision statements everyone will forget. Change the way people interact and culture takes care of itself.


Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Mark McElroy: lives in Mississippi | is blogging again | is author of a dozen books | works as a professional storyteller | has a husband | is working on a novel | is an engaging public speaker | lost fifty pounds in 2017 | is a little obsessed with pizza.

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