Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Really good post from my online PM class (I'm the author)

It's ironic that we're discussing this because I actually went to the WORST kick-off meeting ever executed in the history of meetings last night!! It was an informational meeting about cub scouts. I happen to have a background in scouting. My mom worked for the girl scout council for a few years and she also was a den leader and packmaster for my brothers boy scouts so I understand a lot of how it all works. That being said, this meeting was so poorly run that I, being a girl but having background ended up explaining everything to most of the parents!!!So this is what happened. The woman that was there said that she really didn't know what to tell us, because she's just a den leader and the pack master was supposed to be there, "so uh, sorry but yeah, okay....well, lets divide the boys up by age. Okay. So um..yeah..." okay well then the packmaster shows up (30 min late mind you) and tells us the few little things that the other women ALREADY said and then dives right into "Now, you guys all have to leave here and start selling pop corn right away".Well I have experience with scouting and I know why that is so critical so the boys have funds to do things for the rest of the year (camping, birdhouses, etc.) but the group of people that I was sitting with were all mom's (I guess dads couldn't make it?) and had no idea what was going on! The two women told us we had to sell, had us all watch a video on selling popcorn and then had us sit together with the parents of the boys in the same age group. This ended up being two groups, ours of 1st graders and the other group of older boys. Then the two women left us and went and sat and talked with the other parents for 45 minutes!!!! I couldn't believe that the two women split up the parents, and then didn't split themselves up so one of them was talking to each group and answering questions. It was just so frusterating!!!It was so disorganized and just poorly executed. The biggest issue was that this meeting was supposed to be a "parent information meeting" see if you might want to enroll your child in scouting. Not a "YOU MUST SELL" meeting. I kind of grabbed the reins with the moms sitting with me and explained why the popcorn sale is so important and how the meetings work, the kinds of things they can expect the boys to do (learning about trains,going camping, knife safety, building things) and you could just see them visibly relax because they were finally getting the information they needed about what this whole thing was about. It's sad to me to think that because of how those women ran the meeting that I believe probably 3 of the 4 moms that were sitting with me would not have signed their sons up because they didn't get the information they came there to get.It's so critical to be early to your own meeting, have an agenda, have a clear idea of how it's going to be run, how information is going to be distributed, etc. If this had been a project kick-off meeting instead of just a "welcome to scouting" meeting it would have been a disaster! The project would have gotten a horrible, horrible start with no one being on the same page and the disorganization would have had people wanting to quit before the project even began.One final thought about the whole thing, it's really important to think about what information needs to be talked about at the kick off meeting. In this case, the popcorn discussion was a poorly timed decision and a stick in the spoke so to speak that had the whole meeting flipped upside down because it wasn't the information people were there to get and they didn't understand why it was so important.

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