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Snow Days

Upon receiving the notice of a snow day, kids immediately cheer with delight!

Snow days are these liminal spaces where we step outside of our routines and the daily grind. Kids taste freedom seldom granted to them - sometimes to a parent's chagrin.

A lot of families do special things on snow days. Sledding, snowball fights, staying in their PJ's, drinking hot cocoa, or movies are a few. One of the favorites in my family is to make snow ice cream.

We all need the occasional snow day. Whether it's related to the weather or not, stepping out of the normal day-to-day expands our thinking, readjusts our sense of priorities and puts things into perspective.

The same can be true with team meetings. Especially those standing meetings that always have the same agenda. After a while, it starts to feel rote.

The same old issues are brought up. The more boisterous members do most of the talking. The conversations stay in a transactional place. And many people start to feel frustrated. I've heard such complaints before, "this is a waste of time...I could have gotten all that from an email...we just talk in circles...nothing ever changes..."

What if, you gave yourselves a "snow day" at your next standing meeting? You could even ceremoniously rip the agenda up into little pieces and toss it over everyone (of course, be sure you clean up afterward).

Instead of going through the usual order of business, spend time checking in with everyone. Get beyond the short answer to "how are you doing?" And really listen to connect, striving to understand where each person is coming from.

Take a moment to evaluate the standing meeting. Ask people to reflect on what's working, what's not working and what they wish was different? Give your team a chance to have a voice in how the meeting is structured and organized.

Or play a game. Bring cards or Farkle. Play charades. Have fun together.

You might find that shaking things up leads to the pieces falling back together into a better place. Where the intent of the meeting actually aligns with the outcome. As snow days remind us every time, the work will still be there tomorrow!

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