minutesmadness

Write clear, concise and condensed meeting minutes and still keep your sanity!

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The minute taker might undertake a number of duties in preparation for a meeting.

This would normally cover the following:

  • preparation of the agenda
  • meeting day logistics (catering, room booking, flights/accommodation where appropriate, equipment requirements)
  • taking the minutes at the meeting and then writing them up afterwards
  • distribution of the minutes.

One way to capture things that need to be done from a meeting is to record these items in an action point list. Click here to get your free action point list template.

This action list is then normally distributed with the minutes and that’s your job done. But is it?

Whose responsibility is it to follow up these actions before the next meeting?

I’ve held a number of personal assistant roles in the past and each have had different responsibilities in terms of following up actions from meetings.

Generally they’ve fallen into two categories:

Not your job!

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Some of my managers made it very clear that it wasn’t my job to follow up on the action points. This responsibility was laid fair and square on the person whose name it was against that action. And I agree. We’re dealing with adults here, right? We have more than enough to do than follow up people to see if they’ve done what they have supposed to have done.

Following people up keeps everything moving

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The other side of the coin is that it can be helpful to be the person cracking the whip in seeking updates from people to see if they’ve actioned their actions.  A few of my managers felt that this was definitely part of my job. The managers understood that I couldn’t make people do their actions, but as I was acting on behalf of my manager, it saved my manager one less job. It also meant that it kept things rolling in between meetings. Actions were being completed and there were very few that were rolled over from meeting to meeting.

Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages and I’m OK with either one, but I really believe that people should take ownership for their action points and do them without having someone following them up.

What do you think? Do you believe it’s your responsibility to follow up on actions or that the responsibility lies with individuals?

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Should a minute taker follow up actions from a meeting?

  1. Nelli says:

    I strongly believe that people are accountable when they take responsibility of their own actions. Chasing sometimes useful if there are strict deadlines or one action depends on the other. If a person requires micromanagement or chased that can be accountability issue. As a meeting needs to have an action review, this is the best place to remind all what the outstanding tasks are. Chasing has the feeling of anxiety, missing trust… I prefer when action owners take responsibility to complete them but also it would be great if they can always agree with the action they get.

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    1. robynfb says:

      Thanks Nelija for your comment. I totally agree with you!

      Like

  2. mysecretea says:

    Following up actions is not part of the normal remit of the minute-taker. In a perfect world, it would be no-one’s responsibility. As Nelli said, people are responsible for their own actions. But we all know, committee members are still people – generally very busy people – and they must constant make priority calls on their time. If the Chair wants to run a truly effective committee, they will perform a status check on all actions prior to their due date. This is not so much ‘micromanaging’ as it is a proactive strategy for mitigating the risk of actions slipping down the priority list. The responsibility of running a committee effectively lies with the Chair. However, the action follow-up should be delegated to the designated admin support person – the Committee Secretary. No Committee Secretary? Epic fail. With out dedicated admin support, committees cannot be truly effective. Thank you for the article Robyn. Spot on! HNY.

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    1. robynfb says:

      Hi Anne, HNY and thanks for your comment. I wish we lived in a perfect world!

      Like

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