Executive level meetings are an under-utilized learning opportunities. Strategically exposing staff members of various levels within the church or organization to executive level meetings is healthy for multiple reasons:
- Takes away the mystery of what “They” do in there
- Helps staff understand how decisions are made
- Exposes staff to healthy conflict and how it is handled by leadership
- Invests naturally in staff and conveys a sense of trust within the organization
- Helps to embed culture and reinforces values of the organization
Right now there are likely a bunch of reasons going through your head as to why this is a bad idea, but hear me out and let me introduce to you the concept of Vote, Voice, View. I use this approach on occasion to allow selected staff to come into our meetings and participate at one of these levels.
Level 1: Vote
At the end of the day only the executive team really has a “Vote” in any decision that occurs during the meeting. They are obviously seated at the table and are able to speak up at any time during the course of the meeting.
Level 2: Voice
If team members are invited into the meeting at the “Voice” level of participation they may have a seat at the table or simply be in the room. They are invited for one of three reasons:
- To speak on a specific subject at a specific time during the meeting
- To provide a unique perspective on something that will be discussed
- To represent an absent executive team member, in which case they have freedom to participate in discussions but do not have a vote on any decisions
Level 3: View
Being invited in at the “View” level means invited team members are in the room but not at the table and they do not participate in any part of the discussion unless asked to do so. They have have been brought in to watch and learn so they can make note of what occurs and communicate it back through the organization.
If you still think this is a bad idea I challenge you to consider evaluating your meeting structure and environment. Your reticence might indicate that you need to change something about how you do meetings. Ask yourself these three questions about including team members in executive meetings:
- Do you feel the meeting is a waste of staff members’ time?
- Do you not want staff members to see how conflict is handled?
- Are you scared to let staff members see how decisions really are made?
I understand that there are many meetings where it would be inappropriate to have extra people in the room. However, if you have healthy meetings then there is no good reason you wouldn’t be able to invite other staff in from time to time and give them the chance to learn and grow in a new way.