Dear Bob ...
I am looking for insight on how to schedule a recurring, global meeting.
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My management team meets weekly via Web conference/teleconference. There are a dozen sites involved from around the globe, and the meetings have been going on for a while now. It's a good meeting, and the team has bonded well. The issue is that attendance is falling at the non-U.S. sites.
We hold one meeting a week, at the same time each week. We tried to pick the best time, but it's always either early morning or late evening somewhere. Participation is starting to fall, as people can't be expected to call in at 6 a.m. or 11 p.m. week after week.
I'm trying to think of the approaches for when to hold the meeting:
- One meeting a week at a set time: For some sites, it is an inconvenient time. They participate as they can, but may miss multiple meetings. One meeting is good for keeping the team bonded and the discussions moving forward. However, some sites may feel excluded or secondary, as they are being asked to call in during off-hours.
- Two meetings a week: Each is about 12 hours apart. Sites choose which to attend. Each meeting covers the same topics. This is more convenient, but it also may break the group into regional teams. It may also take longer to make decisions, as the input from the two meetings needs to be shared and discussed.
I also suppose there could be a mix of the two: one meeting a week, but alternate its time. I think that may be too disruptive, however.
Is there another approach? I'm concerned with moving from approach A to B and impacting the group and the process. There's the issue of how to thread the discussions and who will chair the meetings, if there are two of them.
However, with the current approach I'm worried that participation will decline to where some sites are simply excluded.
(An important detail: Many of our issues are decided by consensus, as part of the meeting, so lack of attendance has an immediate, negative impact.)
Do you have any thoughts on either approach or what seems to work well?
- Time Zoned Out
Dear TZO ...
It sounds like you're suffering from authority issues -- namely, you don't have any. It seems to me that step one ought to be figuring out who has authority over this team and asking that person to remind everyone -- diplomatically -- that the meeting, however scheduled and however inconvenient, isn't optional.