Interval of organizational meetings

How often should we meet for organizational questions? What is the function of the meetings? The TransitionHaus Bayreuth has found the answers.

The people of the TransitionHaus Bayreuth meet every second Monday for a two-hour meeting in which they discuss both acute measures and long-term course-setting for the entire initiative. One of the other two Mondays the group invites to a “regulars’ table”. The other Monday of the month is free. This results in the following rhythm: Orgatreffen, free, Orgatreffen, Stammtisch.

Every month a different person organizes the so-called regulars’ table. The regulars’ table should offer time to…

… to carry out collective group actions and thereby strengthen the group structure.

… get to know each other in a different setting (e.g. at someone’s home) without having to work through tasks or have discussions.

… to be able to hold a beginners’ meeting, which those interested can visit.

… to give content impulses to the group and all interested parties, e.g. through lectures.

At first some of these functions of the regulars’ table were either integrated into the Monday rounds or new dates had to be found each time. The merit of a regular appointment is …

·        …. that the organisation rounds are relieved of claims and tasks.

·        …. that there already is an appointment every month at which everyone can attend and which can be used for various activities.

These free meetings should provide a certain content and this should be clear to the group.

·        Otherwise it may happen quickly that within the free meetings, discussions are held and decisions are made in which not all participants are able to contribute. Either because not everyone is there, as they thought they would meet for a free meeting and not for a discussion round, or because the usual discussion and decision-making procedures are not maintained at such a free meeting.

·        It also increases the incentive for everyone to attend a meeting.

·        If necessary, a specific group action should be planned in advance. Otherwise, these meetings could slide into the usual discussion and planning or, worse still, into the unloading of frustration due to ‘lack of activity’.

It turned out that the group should not meet every Monday. In a first attempt, there was some kind of “cosy meeting” every two weeks, which, however, was not visited enough. Many times these meetings were the moments when participants’took time off’ from the house’s obligations. Having one free Monday a month allows the group to work together, e.g. within a group, without having a guilty conscience or to use this evening.

Role of the responsible person for the meeting: At the end of each organizing meeting, a person responsible for the next meeting is appointed. This person has the task to collect all new discussion points until the next meeting, to invite everyone for the next meeting and to moderate the next meeting. Collecting discussion points – e.g. by reading the minutes of the last meeting or by listing the points entered via the e-mail distribution list – enables a structured approach to the meeting. After all, there is one person who has an overview of the points to be discussed and who ensures that no point is forgotten.

The rotation in the moderation …

… allows the various people of a group to get a feel for what it’s like to moderate the group. This increases empathy for the moderator, even if discussions are not satisfactory.

… enables the different people in a group to acquire moderation skills.

(1)   This contributes to the fact that the group is not dependent on a few people who can moderate.

(2)    A feeling of self-efficacy and euphoria can develop in the moderator if he/she has successfully led the group through discussions.

(3)   For example, the ideal goal of Systemic Consensus is that the group no longer needs a moderator and can moderate itself. But this can only be done if everyone in the group knows and has internalized the decision-making procedures and therefore the moderation process within the group can be taken over by different people at different points.

… allows individual focuses to be set by the different moderators. These priorities may be reflected in the choice of topic, the way a discussion is conducted and the nature of the meeting. This is because every moderator – especially if he/she is part of the group – has a natural interest in some topics and a lack of interest in others. Since a moderator may structure a discussion and often has more input, this can lead to an imbalance as to which topics are discussed in each intensity. This can be balanced by rotation in the moderation. You can also try out yourself, for example, by introducing a new format in the welcome round or final round.

… prevents interpersonal difficulties between people from being too great an obstacle. For if someone else moderates next time, the way the current meeting is going might be better accepted.