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“Meeting people in a genuine way and feeling like there is a vital and meaningful connection going on makes me come alive.”      

Sharon Salzberg, NY Times Best-Selling Author


Staff meetings provide your employees a unique opportunity to experience four crucial core needs; to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing. Here are key activities and elements to include:

  1. Express appreciation and compliments (this is separate and different from reporting successes and celebrating progress). This need not take long. You could say, “Please go around the circle and appreciate something about the person on your right.”
  2. Review your purpose and values.  Introduce a variety of exercises such as, “Here’s a copy of our values.  Which one is most challenging for you this week and how can we best support you?”
  3. Use an agenda provided by all. Report, review, and brainstorm on common agenda items such as:
  • Challenges, e.g. a difficult client, increasing sales or how to keep the lunch room clean
  • Projects, e.g. a new sales process (internal) or client marketing strategy (external)
  • Systems, e.g. accounting, marketing, or professional development
  • Workplace Culture, e.g. development of company values, raising morale or reducing gossip
  • Other, e.g. vacation schedules, parking or upcoming events

 4.  Use a consistent meeting structure. Report, review, and brainstorm on common agenda items such as:

  • Form a circle to promote equality and visibility
  • Start and end every meeting on a positive note
  • Rotate facilitation of staff meetings so everyone takes a turn, even though certain aspects must be reinforced by leadership team members
  • CEO or other leaders present reinforce the organization’s purpose and values. For example, share a story, a quote, a case study, or article

  5. Brainstorm meeting guidelines and stick to them

  • Capture on a flip chart what each person needs and wants in order to participate in meetings at 100%.
  •  Write down all ideas.
  • Ask the group to choose 3-5 guidelines such as:
  • Talking without interruption
  • Using a talking stick
  • No put downs or making fun of anyone’s ideas
  • Considering all (even seemingly outrageous) solutions
  • How to maintain order: (adopting techniques such as those described below)

           Higher:  When someone says “higher” it’s a request to reframe a negative comment to a positive.    

           Popcorn: “Popcorn” is the phrase used to break up side conversations.

           Gain attention supportively:  Raise your hand.  Others do until all get quiet.

 6.  Trial your guidelines: ask everyone to live with them for a period of time, then decide to keep or revise.

7.  Use a meeting binder Use a 3-ring binder with dividers and include your meeting guidelines, minutes as well as sections particular to your organization, projects or structures.  Include:

  • A Tracking Sheet for Agenda Items: Capture agenda items and track their progress
  • A Calendar: Use calendar pages to capture events and follow-up dates
  • Plan fun. Plan a barbecue, a meal together, an outing or community event. You decide when, what, who’s in charge of it, etc.

      8.  Celebrate success and progress. Track, prepare and report progress briefly.


In this way, you end your meetings with encouragement and a positive focus.  You may want to share a snack or take a few minutes to shift gears.


Why People Hire Judy Ryan and LifeWork Systems

Business owners, community leaders, and educators hire Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace and recognize a systems approach ensures consistency and sustainability in the transformation process. They know that conscientious employees grow your business and improve your reputation, giving you competitive advantages. We help organizations instill into every person a common language and toolset for how to participate in a responsibility-based Teal workplace. Visit our website at www.lifeworksystems.com, and click the link at the bottom to complete a culture assessment and schedule your first consult to review a report on your feedback, all at no cost.  You can also contact Judy Ryan at 314.239.4727 or at judy@lifeworksystems.com.


As published in my column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, April 2014