In an idle moment I was pondering the question of what’s the best meeting I’ve ever been to.  That led me to thinking about the worst meeting, so here’s my starter list of both.  Why not add your own?  Who knows – thinking about why these were the meetings from heaven and hell might prompt thoughts about what made them that and how we can encourage the one and avoid the other.

THE BEST MEETING…

…by far was when I met our first daughter at about 3 p.m. on a day in July 1986.  She’ll be cross if she finds I’m blogging her arrival in the world but I can say with some confidence that the profound feelings of love and contentment any new parent knows at the birth of their first child are never going to be replicated for me at work or anywhere else.  So some way behind but still pretty darned good come…

…a speech by Archbishop Desmond Tutu at the Commonwealth Local Government Conference in Aberdeen a few years ago (perhaps it stretches the definition of what a meeting is but this is my blog).  He was talking about the role of local government in democracy but the depth of his thinking, his experience, his humanity and his humility (the mark of a great leader) were deeply moving…

…one reported to me with some emotion by a colleague from elsewhere as the best moment in his public service career was the CE of a failing organisation who began its transformation by launching his commitment to 3,000 staff invited to an exhibition centre and saying with great honesty to them “We are failing.  I know it and you know it.  We have to change.  Here’s what I want to do.  Will you help me?”  To reinforce what they had to do everyone was given a small bag of Quality Street (get it?) chocolates when they left.

THE WORST MEETING…

…the first day of a job many years ago when the head of service called me in to say almost word for word “There’s goods news and bad news.  The good news is we reviewed the post and decided you needed a team to do it.  The bad news I’m afraid is that your first team member is a medically-diagnosed schizophrenic, charming chap when he’s feeling OK but you won’t get much work out of him” (I didn’t)…

…any meeting lasting longer than two hours in a room with no windows.

What are yours?

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