The Unicorn Meeting - A Reflection on a Leadership Topic

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My take on an application of a topic from our first session.

The Unicorn Meeting

Throughout my professional career I've always wondered when I would catch a glimpse of the elusive Unicorn Meeting (the one ran with reason, direction, poise and purpose that you can only hope to walk into). Perhaps I would be the one to lead it and bask in all its glory, or maybe it would be the one they use to let me know they're letting me go - who knows, but I'll hope for the prior. As it turns out I attended my first of these fully worthwhile meetings just a few weeks from our first session. It took me by surprise and it has set the standard for my future expectations of how any meeting setting should be utilized.

We have been struggling with a new initiative that relates to a very specific type of end user support/interaction, which can at times have an immense effect on how teaching is done here in the multipurpose classrooms at the University. It had finally come to a point where a meeting of those involved needed to be convened to discuss the current situation. I can't remember a single meeting that I've gone into with any sort of excitement, let alone leaving with a sense of purpose or very well planned out goal and/or action plan - this was the first time and it really opened my eyes to what a meeting could really amount to.

There happened to be several people who have been through the Leadership Program attending and it really showed once we got down to brass tacks. The meeting was started with a clear discussion about what needed to be talked about, not some round robin style of anyone who had the courage to speak up about the controversial subject possibly mumbling something that wouldn't be addressed in an efficient manner. Maybe you can tell by now that I've had a quite dreary outlook on the idea of meetings in general, but some hope would start to shine through as this one progressed. After everyone gave some real thought and insight into the issues at hand, we had several more action items to work towards and worthwhile collaboration between the groups ensued. You could tell that everyone had been able to get their complete opinion out on the table and each was discussed and understood. We drew a clear and concise outline of what we were needing to do and notes were taken, emails sent out after the fact, and a real sense of immediacy was given to the problem now that we had really dug through its core deficiencies.

It was a sight to behold, but looking back on previous meetings I can clearly see that it really is up to you to step up and make sure they are going in the right direction (whether you should/want to be there or not) otherwise you're setting up for another meeting...and who really wants that.

All the best,

Sean Peterson
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

 

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