September 4, 2018

Comparison of Terms for Robert's Rules of Order and Meeting Wizard’s RARA Process

After asking if Robert’sRules are valid for your meeting, a need to show the differences in process and terms in a more easy-to-read format has come to light.  Roles are often the same, just different names.  Below are three comparison charts to illustrate the differences and similarities.

Designed in 1876 for government use and later adapted for societies, 11th edition published 2011
Evolved out of quality improvement and team building efforts in business 1980-1990 then RARA published in 2003 – new release coming  2019

Process Summaries
RONR Process
RARA Process
Formal and strict structure
Informal but adheres to set agenda
Requires motion and 2nd to debate/discuss, if no 2nd then no discussion
Team agrees to discuss issues/solutions or not
Suggests quorum to call for majority vote, minority is allowed to debate/discuss prior to call for vote
Allows for multiple decision-making methods (consensus, majority, ranking, etc.)
Committees do or arrange outside work and report progress
Team members do/arrange outside work and report their progress
Gavel is used to mark meeting progress or gain attention
Facilitator encourages group back to agenda
Includes process to discipline disruptions and problems during meeting time
Suggested methods for handling typical disruptions in meeting
Speaking time per person limited to 10 minutes for small groups and typically 2 minutes each for large groups – also an individual may be limited to speaking 2 times during a debate/discussion
Presentation time is limited to what is set on agenda and individual speaking time during discussion on set topic may be set before discussion begins

Possible Roles
RONR Roles
RARA Roles
Secretary/Clerk or Historian
Recorder, aka Record-Keeper
Assembly/Officers and Members
Guest (cannot vote)
Observer (cannot vote)
Sergeant –at-arms or Doorkeeper or Parliamentarian
Gatekeeper or Timekeeper (optional)
Talker, aka Presenter
Treasurer (if $) or Teller (vote-counter)

Most Used Terms
RONR Terms
RARA Terms
Call to Order
Code of Conduct or Ground Rules


New Business
Open Time
Order of Business/Order of the Day/Program
Agenda (3T)

Refer/Commit to Committee (or person)
Action Item (3W)

Roll Call

RONR = Rules of Order Newly Revised
RARA = Roles, Agenda, Records, Actions
Put in Parking Lot
Unfinished/Old Business
Next Agenda or pull from Parking Lot
Decision-making methods

Meeting Types
RONR Meetings
RARA Meetings



6 types
Electronic (specified method other than face-to-face in bylaws) – added in 11th edition
4 methods – 2019 update to include newer virtual methods and tips

August 28, 2018

Robert's Rules of Order - Are They Valid for Your Meetings?

Robert's Rules of Order (currently abbreviated as RONR to include "newly revised") have been around since 1876 and are still used in many organizations today.  So they must be the best way to run a meeting, right?  This process is typically for those wanting a parliamentary-type procedure to be used in their meetings, such as government, societies, and other non-profit organizations.  These rules are often used in town meeting type events where audience members are recognized and allowed to share their thoughts on agenda items being presented. 

Are Robert's Rules of Order Valid for Your Meetings?  That depends upon whether or not you want a highly formal process for running your meetings.  Robert’s process includes specific terms people must use during the meeting and in the meeting minutes.  Ii has guidelines for voting in the process of decision-making.  Typically silence or non-participation by any member implies consent to whatever the group decides. 

If you think you might want to use the rules, then you may want to review a few of these links to get more familiar with the process before deciding to go with Robert's Rules of Order.  
* Please note that none of these example links are official RONR websites.
If you are interested in using Robert’s Rules of Order, you may want to consider getting the most up-to-date copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised to have on hand to check various points of order before, during, and after your meetings.   The required use of Robert’s Rules should be spelled out in the organization’s bylaws or code of conduct.

If you are looking for a less formal approach to use in team or business meetings, consider getting the book RARA A Meeting Wizard's Approach.

August 21, 2018

Majority Vote vs. Quorum

Voting by show of hands.

What’s the difference in Quorum for decisions and Majority vote?  Majority vote means that more than half of the group/team members present have to agree to the decision for it to pass.  Some people try to be deceptive and bring in guests to vote their way so they can obtain the majority – this should not be allowed! Any way a vote is done, it should be only by voting members of the group or team.

A quorum is a way to make decisions even if all group/team members are not present as it requires only a percentage of voting members to be present for work to continue.  A quorum is usually 2/3 of the voting membership, so if at least 2/3 of the members cannot attend the meeting then the meeting may not be necessary because no decisions can be made. Having a requirement of a quorum can prevent a small group trying to take control via special meetings that they know most members with a different view will be unable to attend.

It is also important to note that a quorum may be different from a 2/3 vote, which is different from a majority.  A 2/3 vote means twice as many people must vote for the decision than vote against it in order to pass.  .  Whereas, a majority vote is simply more than ½ (51% or greater) of voting members can pass a decision for the whole, leaving the almost 1/2 minority with little voice. A  2/3 vote may also be referred to as “large majority vote.”

Whether you use Robert’s Rules of Order or another meeting process, the group/team must state in their code of conduct, bylaws, meeting guidelines, or rules/regulation, whether most decisions are to made via majority vote, quorum, consensus, or if alternative methods may be applied as appropriate.

Voting methods can be show-of-hands (raising one arm), secret ballot, roll call where each person states their vote when their name is called, counting those standing for Yes/No, or saying Yay or Nay..

August 1, 2018

Nine Motivational Ideas to Increase Employee Engagement

Below are nine ideas to increase both motivation and engagement in the workplace.  A few are simple employee relation concepts or team building processes.  Others require more communication effort or either human resources (HR) or upper management support.  

See if you can tell which ideas fall under motivation and which fall under engagement per the chart in infographic on the left.

1. Give your employees the opportunity to do what they do best!
2. Provide helpful tools and procedures to get quality work done efficiently.
3. Provide a better work-life balance and encourage personal well-being.
4. Recognize employee efforts, team achievements, and project milestones.
5. Improve job security and implement transparency at work.
6. Provide training and support for professional and personal development.
7. Let employees know they work for a company with a great reputation.
8. Get feedback from employees on what to do better.
9. Encourage personal interactions and relationships between co-workers.

After reading this list, determine what you can do immediately.  Then set goals for bringing the other items into your organization. 

July 2, 2018

Buying Office Supplies in Bulk: Which Items are Yes or No?

You may not think buying office supplies is a big deal, after all how much does a pen or pad cost compared to office equipment? However, over time, the expense related to common office supplies can add up to big dollars because the organization constantly needs to buy more to keep up with employee demand and job needs.   

To the left is a new infographic designed to help office administrators and purchasing agents understand what makes sense to buy in bulk for cost effectiveness and what not to get in large quantities at one time.  I agree with most of it what Quill includes in the YES grouping, except for furniture.  Unless you are furnishing a new office or doing a remodel/redecorate it does not make sense to have extra furniture around taking up valuable space and getting in the way of easy movement.  So I think furniture should have went in the PROBABLY NOT group.

If you want to see a full-size infographic and/or read the blog post from, an on-line office supplies store, read their blog post Your Go-to Guide to Buying in Bulk for the Office.

June 12, 2018

Five (+5+5)= 15 Time Management Tips for Business

Time Management
I am sure I have given these time management tips before in my books, on this blog, or in other articles.  However, I thought a refresher would be a good idea.
  1. Keep a log of what you are doing to make sure you are always doing the most important tasks.  You do not want to fill your days with minor efforts or unnecessary jobs. So plan your workday by setting high, medium, and low priorities on tasks. 
  2. Keep interruptions short by not letting the other person sit down.  Once they sit down, it will be harder to get them out of your office or workspace.  So stand up when they come in and they will typically stay standing too. 
  3. Arrange your work area where you do not see people traffic flow, if possible.  If you are in line of the traffic flow, you will get distracted.  Being close to the people moving about also makes it easier for them to drop-in, which disrupts your workflow (see #2). 
  4. Ask the members of your team about time wasters.  Find out what you do that they feel wastes their time.  This may be a little hard for them to say so let them know it is for mutual benefit in managing time.  Knowing everyone’s time-wasters could save you and others time in the future. 
  5. Make your meetings more effective and efficient!  I had said this before - plan your time together so none of you wastes each other’s time.  That means having an agenda (3 T's) for efficiency (getting the right things done) during the meeting and recording actions (3 W’s) for effectiveness afterwards.
The Plus 5’s in my post title refers to articles I have recently published with either five additional time management tips/tricks or that provide a little more detail for the above tips.  If you review those articles too you will have a total of fifteen tips.  To review the additional time management tips, visit these links.

May 22, 2018

Color-Coding To Improve Work-Life Balance

Outlook Color Categories

As a business, technical, or hospitality professional, you may be wondering at the end of each day why you are so tired.  Or perhaps you wonder why you are not achieving everything in your career that you desire.  Have you ever considered that maybe you need to plan your time in a way that not only allows you to grow in your career area but allows for personal life balance as well?  Taking time for yourself and your career growth not only makes you feel better it assures you are better able to help your associates, team members, or family when the need arises.  Besides setting priorities on a to do list, consider the concept of color coding your weekly time management plan to assure you have a good balance of activities.

  • Green –key activities with customers and co-workers that lead to profits for your business in the near term.
  • Red – maintenance activities such as updating charts, reviewing and recording data, administrative tasks that keep your records up-to-date.
  • Blue – time away from the office for vacation, personal hobbies, or family activities to keep you balanced and reduce stress related to a high-performance work schedule.
  • Orange - long-term result activities that further your career including goal setting, attending conferences or training, reading articles or books, and other types of continued education.

Now that you know the color coding idea, take a look at your time management plan for next week and add the colors into your planning system, Do you have a good balance of activities?  If not, see where you can move things around to be sure you are taking time for yourself , your work team, and family, as well as plans for your personal career growth.  Find what motivates you, plan time for it, and you will find yourself not only better balanced but rejuvenated and more motivated.  As a refreshed individual you can become an even greater asset to your chosen profession.

May 8, 2018

Three Bucket Analogies for Business Productivity

I find it interesting that a bucket is used by some management experts to explain their concepts of motivation, time management, or leadership.  Below are links to good articles or posts on two of the productivity concepts. For motivation, I found multiple ideas on the internet and in books that had some elements in common.  So I just summarized the common concepts in what seemed a logical way to me. 

Motivation analogy of filling the bucket:
  • Individual’s Drive: Employee feedback needs to be specific, timely, and aligned with their personal value system.
  • Team’s Performance: The team needs to know how well it is doing as a team.
  • Manager’s actions: To keep buckets filled, managers need to provide the team and members with feedback on how they are doing and let team know the work they do is cared about.
  • The Work: The team needs to know what are the main things are that they need to be do, why it is important, and what is key to accomplishing a good job.

Plug the holes before filling the bucket.” - Frank Sonnenberg

Time Management analogy of filling a bucket (your day) with rocks (high priority), pebbles (medium), and sand (low priority).  Others add a water element, which is crisis management or fire-fighting that quickly fills up the bucket and can push out the other priorities if you are not careful. 

Leadership bucket analogy based on Transactional to Transformational using military example of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration