Thursday, September 17, 2009
The Take-the-Proxy-Issue-At-Face-Value Meeting
"Okay, so we've settled that the few cases of actually exceeding course caps were due to a system glitch, and that's been fixed. We're good?" "Grrrrr."
The Guess-What-I'm-Thinking Meeting, and its cousin, The Validate the Preordained Conclusion Meeting
"Let's hear your ideas. Well, not that one. Or that one. Or that. Hey, I've got one!"
The Jockey for Position Meeting and its cousins, The Follow the Bouncing Blame Meeting and The Look At Me! Meeting
"And my incredibly wonderful project would have worked if Steve hadn't dropped the ball."
The Let's Define Words Differently Meeting
Common floating signifiers include assessment, integrity, diversity, transparency, affirmative action, budget, and horse's ass
The Let Me Play Out Longstanding Childhood Trauma Meeting
"The Administration always liked them best."
The Meandering Discussion of a Settled Question Meeting and its cousin, The Lost Golden Age Meeting
"Ever since that reorg in '96, things just haven't been the same..."
The How Many Words I Can Fit on a PowerPoint Slide? Meeting
"You might not be able to see these from the back of the room, so I'll read them to you..."
The Bonding Exercise Meeting
"Let's start with an icebreaker!" Or, shoot me in the face. Either way is good.
The Kabuki Meeting
Everyone plays an assigned role. The hothead, the avuncular skeptic, the bitter skeptic, the idealist, the gritty realist, the crusader, the victim, etc.
The Unified Field Theory Meeting
"And that ties into...which ties into what you said before...it's all connected!"
Wise and worldly readers, what unique species of walking death have you seen?
"Hey, everybody, let's put out free coffee and donuts. Then, we'll sit around and quietly watch the not-really-veiled alpha male sexist and the confrontational feminist argue for an hour. We'll try to get to the issues at the meeting next week."
My department particularly enjoys the "A special committee already worked for weeks on this issue but it's important to be democratic so let's all second-guess their report and findings" meeting.
I wish I had a nickel for every time I sat in one of the meetings Rohan described. I would be long retired.
Of course, there is the variation on that theme in the, "Let's all agree to specifically charge a special committee with decision-making authority on this issue and then criticize them for making decisions" meeting
"Informative" meetings that provide only dire budget descriptions (yes, we know) without any information about actual decisions that are in progress.
Something might happen. It could be dire, or not. We're not sure when it will happen and/or whom it will ultimately affect. The constraints and rules around the change this will entail are unclear but we know they will be broad - or perhaps not. But you've been informed so we expect you to play along with anything that happens and not be surprised. As far as we can determin here will be no additional resources associated with completing the tasks that may or may not be required by this change which will happen at a future but undetermined time - but that could alter with our rapidly changing conditions.
But I really like article linked from the third comment up above. To some extent, the worst meetings are enabled by the participants as well as the leader, probably because most of us only had experience with badly run meetings.
We got a lot of these last year, but the administrator in question has improved considerably since. I am deeply relieved.
Happened all the time during union negotiations, and the head wordsmither for management never understood why the actual words took so long and why we fought him so vehemently to get words into the contract that actually meant something.