Board Meetings

Header photo by Sammydavisdog on Flickr via Creative Commons 2.0

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.

I have recently joined the Board of Directors at Tapestry Folkdance Center. It is a three-year term, and I thought long and hard about this commitment that I have been avoiding for some time. With good reason – I am now on two committees, and feel like I must show up when there is, say, a seasonal Clean-up Day.

Some of our discussion topics seem very crucial (fund raising; how to get and retain new dancers), but then I looked at what was discussed at the G-20 Summit talks happened on November 15 and 16 in Antalya, Turkey. Here is one article providing a recap of all that was on the agenda:

  • Bolstering counterterrorism efforts
  • Responsible state behavior in cyberspace
  • Achieving strong, sustainable, and balanced global economic growth
  • Making global growth more inclusive
  • Addressing the global refugee crisis
  • Promoting high-standard trade and investment
  • Strengthening the global financial system
  • A modern, fair international tax system
  • Fighting corruption and promoting transparency
  • Supporting sustainable development
  • Addressing climate change and boosting clean energy

I’m trying to imagine covering these topics in two days. They must have had a really strict time “moderator”.

And for a little comic relief, there was a cat invasion:

Where do you find comic relief during a long meeting?


51 thoughts on “Board Meetings”

  1. Love the top picture, but will quibble there are too many orange tabbys in thst meeting, and they all look so earnest

    We have an orange tabby, he doesn’t do meetings. He mostly just decides it’s time to do something and gets down to it.

    Grey fluffball is more of a recruiter, always trying to get you to do something.

    I can’t thank you enough for this gentle reminder that being now self-employed, I don’t have to go to staff meetings anymore. Corporate staff meetings gave me a real appreciation for yhe production meetings I went to when working in theatre.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. Unfortunately, I did things in the wrong order. Should have done corporate work first so I could appreciate the wackiness that can be a production meeting.

        But like Thoreau’s poet, I suspect that might have rendered md unfit to work in theatre.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Morning all. Very very appropriate topic as the first thing I thought when the alarm went off was “rats, my department meeting is today.” I detest meetings and my department meeting is the worst. To keep my head from exploding I doodle. I usually cover the back of the agenda with very small circles – how I apply them is different from week to week. Sometimes I just start at one end and fill up the page; sometimes I create neighborhoods of circles then connect them by roads of circles until the suburban sprawl takes over the sheet of paper. My boss accepts this eccentricity of mine. I did actually find a study years back that suggests that doodling helps keep the mind sharp during a meeting. I have the clipping on my cube wall.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. VS, a woman in my American History class at University of Colorado boulder did the very same thing. In the beginning, the circles were just along the margin of her notebook but by the end of the term she covered whole pages. Were you that woman? (admittedly, very boring class except for the memorable lectures on Civil War medical techniques and Mormon history)


      1. I was not that woman. I usually start in the center or in the corners, but occasionally, especially if I’m doing my “urban landscape” method, I start at the edges.

        I just got out of the meeting I detest the most – as we entered the room one of my colleagues gave me one of these new coloring books and some colored pencils! I chose a very lovely design of koi in a lily pond!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. So many wonderful community organizations exist only because of the commitment of dedicated volunteers. I salute you, BiR, for taking on this responsibility,

    Being happily retired, I agree to participate in very few meetings these days, and only for a short term – a couple of months at the most – and usually for a specific purpose. No amount of doodling or Buzzword Bingo could sustain me through a three year commitment to monthly meetings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If I had a corporation and needed to have these meetings, I think I would have to make sure there were cats present.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah allergic to cats, I know. Bring me your doctor’s excuse and you can watch it from your computer.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I accede to the fact that the world needs big picture people and the meetings that these folks engender. I am just not one of them. After four decades of corporate life, just the word “meeting” gives me the willies. Also the words “conference call”.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Just had my breakfast meeting with Martha and Bernie (Martha insisted on it). Next on the agenda is a short walk with Bernie in his new red and black lumber-jack checkered fleece coat. Then we’ll be ready to settle in for some serious cuddling and reading with a good cup of coffee while husband is off playing pickle ball. Life is good.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Working in Corporate America, I have meetings. Every single day. The days that are bad are the ones where I have several half hour meetings stacked up on top of each other – all that context switching makes my head swim. I have been known to excuse myself from meetings that either I am not truly needed at or that prove to be not useful for me (or my team). Sometimes, though, you are stuck. Depending on the size of the meeting room (and proximity to others), I have been known to shoot snarky IM’s to a pal in the room…the computer equivalent to passing notes if the meeting is necessary and painful. With a general culture of “no meeting is truly mandatory” I think it has made meeting leaders get a lot better at making sure that things don’t drag on, that they stick to the topic at hand, and that if they know it’s going to be painful, start with a cat video or something goofy…(except the quarterly all-employee meetings…but those you can watch remote at your desk and do other work while the C-level folks natter on).

    Liked by 3 people

  8. During WW2, the US planned to fire bomb Japan using incendiaries attached to bats. Those Turkish cats were part of a security team looking for bomblet-carrying terrorist rats.
    I never have had to go to long meetings. But it seems to me that playing footsie under a long table might he a little fun.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This reminds me of a recent-ish development at AHS, where we foster kitties. They now are adopting out working cats. Cats that are just not up to the patience they would need to be pets, but still have a useful role to play, patrolling warehouses and such.

      As with any adoption, there are rules to protect the cats from exploitation, but I think this is a great idea and am so glad people are finding employment for these mighty hunters.

      Someone left a wet, rigormortised mouse on my back doorstep. Don’t think it was one of the resident delinquents, it had been too long dead.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. One of the reasons I’m so reluctant to leave temping, in spite of the insecurity, low pay, and poor benefits, is the relative lack of meetings. My group has a “huddle” (oh how I despise sports talk in business!) every morning for 15-20 minutes, which has content that applies to me once every 2-3 weeks. I’ve been used to entertaining myself ever since I was a little kid on long bus rides to and from school, so I just disappear into my own head while (hopefully) still looking like I’m paying attention. Frequently I’m doing mantra; bonus points if I’m far enough in the back of the group to be able to get out my prayer beads.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I have to attend my share of meetings,but not too many, really. What irks me is that I have now sat through the same safety, security, and confidentiality inservices for 17 years. Our monthly general staff meetings of around 50 people are held in a basement room that is poorly ventilated. The chairs are uncomfortable, and there is no cell phone service in the basement, so I can’t surreptitiously play with my cell phone.

    Our psychology staff meetings are supposed to take place weekly for an hour, but we haven’t had one for a couple of months. I am the only full time, State-employed psychologist west and south of the Missouri River in ND. Two psychologists come from Bismarck two days a week, , but only one of those does clinical work. The other is an administrator. I feel like an endangered species. That there are so few of us at my agency means that we really don’t need formal meetings, and we can do business informally, quickly, and without much fuss. I like that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am and have been on several over the years. Not all at once of course.
      The phrase that sticks in my mind: ‘If you want something done ask a busy person.’
      Planning meeting for commencement 2016 at 1:00 today. Fire drill at 2:00. Coincidence? Hmmmm….

      My wife has been on a board for the last 8 months. She hates it. There’s some conflict at the moment and while I think the OVERALL experience is good for her, I don’t like how tense and anxious she gets the day of the meeting.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Many many years ago I was on the BOD of East Calhoun Co-op in SW Mpls. I hated it… in fact, it’s that memory that has kept me from joining groups that have any kind of high level, big-picture meetings!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Several boards as well, but most notably the Duluth YWCA (whose executive director at the time just stepped down from her job as Tribal Chief of Fond du Lac Reservation to work with Obama in DC on Native issues. Congratulations, Karen Diver!!!!) and the Arrowhead Chorale, Carlton County Historical Society…all of them for 9 years, as I recall. Served as secretary of the latter two. Now I am limiting my involvement to being president of the local Sons (and Daughters) of Norway lodge. Our meetings are mostly limited to fun and educational programs and lunch.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. When in the working world, I never minded meetings as long as I didn’t have to say or do anything. They were a sort of welcome diversion from sitting at my desk. Clearly the lack of need for my contribution should have made them one of Anna’s “not truly mandatory” types.

    Since retirement, I have been corralled into a few committees.
    I’m on the “advisory board” to Minnesota Community Sings. So far, that has just meant two delicious dinners at a song leader’s house and a bunch of brainstorming. At the second meeting, we had a sort of ice breaker to get to know each other: what song can you sing by heart? That was certainly fun.
    The church visual arts committee has a no-one-has-to-attend-the-monthly-meeting policy. There are about 40 people on the committee but only about 10 show up. That seems about right. I sneak in with sweaty hair after an exercise class.
    The planned giving church committee has both a serious time-keeper as chair and a few people who love to take off on irrelevant tangents. I do enjoy the tangents more than the business. It’s rather amusing to calculate when the chair is going to cut off the tangents.
    The memorial reception committee has no meetings; we just do our job as the need arises. That’s my kind of committee.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. After two decades of freelancing from my home, I was delighted when I was recruited to serve on a committee planning the magazine put out by the International Wolf Center. What does that tell you? People who are thrilled by the prospect of committee meetings have obviously not attended many.

    I developed a reputation as a fire-breathing reformer in those meetings. I was politely (but deeply) critical of the way things were being done. I offered radical reforms. I filled pages with plans for improving the magazine. After the meetings my fellow committee members would shake my hand and tell me I had been brilliant. I’ll admit it: those days were fun.

    In your mind, now go forward two, three or four years. (I like the image from old movies where the calendar pages blur as time flows forward.) I found myself making the same comments again and again. The plans for reform we had drawn up were delayed for various weak reasons, year after year. The magazine continued to be what it had always been, for that is what our director really wanted. Had always wanted.

    One day I realized my committee service had been depicted with great precision in popular culture. I was living a Dilbert cartoon. I sat quietly through committee meetings drawing pheasants on my legal pad.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s amazing how much time and energy can be put into drying to change an organization, when the director really isn’t going to let that happen. Lip service… I remember my dad seeing all kinds of new things that he would change about education, but even if everyone was on board for them, he said it would take 25 years for real change to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have been on a few different volunteer boards and committees – some more productive and/or fun than others.

    I will say this in defense of the much maligned meeting: a 20-30 minute discussion with a few key people all in one contained space can be much more productive (and a faster way to understanding and/or consensus) than a zillion emails bouncing around with a handful of side conversations for good measure.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. i am always pleased to be part of helping a cause i believe in but not on a committee. i hate committees .
    board meeting and bull sessions drive me nuts too. what i have learned today is that the clipboard and a ipad do make it look like yo are paying attention and taking notes when in fact you can get the work done you care about but never have time to look after. other people at the meeting are impressed when their words stimulate note taking. sometimes the notes i take even come form something they said

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t do meetings. As a low level administrative worker, most meetings I had attended were as note-taker and they were mandatory training or employee meetings.

    Although, when I was at Pillsbury, the last department I worked in was comprised of about 8 women and we loved celebrating birthdays. We tried to do it surreptitiously, so when you saw a meeting scheduled on your calendar on your birthday, you knew it was bogus. We would solemnly gather for our “meeting”, and then cake, treats and prizes would appear and we had a fun time. I miss that …

    Liked by 6 people

  16. I wonder what it is like to be on a board of directors of something that pays its members big bucks to be on the board, like a major utility, a bank, etc?


  17. I was on the board of a teeny nonprofit for three years as treasurer. Meetings once a month. I wouldn’t say I would never do it again, but I would think long and hard about it. We did make a point of combining the December meeting with a holiday dinner, which was always very nice.

    During my cube years, I had to attend a staff meeting once a week. I estimate that was about 700 staff meetings, about an hour to an hour and a half. I’m sure some very important business was conducted, but the time invested seemed too much by about a factor of three.

    One colleague used to bring a bowl of cereal and milk and eat breakfast at the table. If little was accomplished at the meeting, at least he had taken in some nourishment.

    Liked by 3 people

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