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Meeting isn't accomplishing goal: what to change


A little history:
Before I started here, there were some issues with a specific person meeting deadlines. These deadlines were related to tech and media issues - ranging from creating advertisements, fixing/updating webpages, mapping, writing code, to webinars and conference calls. This person is very skilled, but was 1 person trying to meet the deadlines of not just the whole office, but other departments would ask for his assistance because he is that skilled.
They started a monthly meeting where this person, let's call him Bob, would go over all the requests he had on his plate, and the other supervisors (Bob is 1 of 3 supervisors) would then confirm, move, or eliminate projects based on Bob's ability to meet deadlines. Also in the meeting - Bob's boss and the boss of the other 2 supervisors (total 5 people in the meeting). Bob also got an assistant - let's call her Ann. Ann does the media stuff - advertisements, webpage art, videos and photos for publications, etc - and is not a techie person on webpages and mapping.
The monthly meetings continue. Bob is still missing or coming close to missing deadlines. Ann has figured out that she should ask the person needing the artwork directly about timelines, because Bob usually either waits til the last minute, or forgets to give her a deadline at all. Ann isn't allowed to prioritize her projects without Bob, and Bob is (obviously) not good at getting this info across. The 2 other supervisors feel weird taking Bob to task in front of the bosses in the monthly meeting. Therefore, no one really says much and the monthly meetings aren't really accomplishing what they were originally meant to - help Bob meet deadlines.

Does anyone have some ideas on how to accomplish the original goal - help Bob prioritize and meet deadlines - that does not include him being the focus of the other supervisor's ire/anger/disappointment? One idea was to not have the bosses in the meeting. Another idea was to eliminate the meeting altogether. Any suggestions are appreciated. We do not want to fire Bob - he is very skilled and would be sorely missed - but it would be nice to know that Bob knew and could meet his deadlines.

I can provide additional info if needed. Thank you for your help brainstorming.


I'm hoping your Bob is not like my Bob and hitting on the cleaning lady. Although that just makes life more interesting. I would say the other supervisors should sit down with Bob and ask how they (including Bob) can make the meetings more effective, efficient, etc. Remind everyone that the point of the meeting is to help set deadlines for the projects. Would it be beneficial to get Ann in on the meeting and set some deadlines for her as well? You know, the occasional how can we get more from this meeting review done on the side and presented to the boss at the next meeting as improvements Bob and everyone came up with.


Is there a way to standardize some of the information that could also be shared with Ann to help her? Like when folks are sending requests to Bob, have a cover sheet they fill out with deadlines and such? So then all the pertinent information is in one place, Ann has what she needs, and it's not up to Bob to communicate it to her.

We've had a lot of process issues at my new gig, and it has resulted in a lot of inconsistency. My first goal was to start getting all the information in one place, so I just convinced the Executive Director to pay for a new project management software system to keep track of all our projects (tasks, deadlines, estimated hours of work, staff responsible, etc.). Once we get that up and running, my next goal is to create standard operating procedures for all regular tasks (project scoping, meeting organization, invoice submission, etc.). The idea is just to standardize procedures as much as possible. Maybe letting Ann be in charge of making sure all that information is collected is the way to go?

If he has the skillset to do the work, but not to do the administration aspects, then find a way for someone else to manage that aspect of it. Then he can focus on the part that he is the most skilled at, and maybe everyone will be happier?


Cyburbian, raised by Cyburbians
Let me start by saying: I am probably Bob. I'm not saying I'm super-skilled at techie things that are in demand; I am saying I have a cadre of skills that are unique. With that said, I am absolutely the worst person to administer things that have deadlines, and where people need official, regular updates as opposed to running into me at the Coke machine to find out what's up. I strongly recommend Peach's idea above: have the supervisor's suggest to Bob that Ann or someone else managing some of the info would be a good thing. If Bob is like me, he is aware of his Achilles Heel, and as long as he still feels like people around him value what he does, he won't mind losing some of the stuff he knows he a'int good at. :) I know it works for me. I off-load stuff to people in my division who are better at it than I am, and I make sure to reinforce to them how much I appreciate those skills.