Have you ever sat in a meeting that should have been an email? Holla' if you hear me, friends! Days are short, but meetings are long. Don't get me wrong, some meetings serve a purpose. Others, however, linger and lag, creating unnecessary frustration, negativity and haste. I have never seen this more true than in the school setting. It's a burden that teachers and administrators across the country bear in solidarity.
You may be thinking, "But we just talked about the importance of communication as a form of building trust - the foundation on which any collaborative and dynamic team must build." And you aren't wrong. Communication, however, does not have to be limited to in-person meetings and face-to-face contact. In fact, a lot of that communication in the school setting can be reactive rather than proactive in nature. So, what does proactive communication look like? Although the strategies are many, here is one that has always served me well in my current leadership role. Enter, the Monday Memo.
What is a Monday Memo?
The word memo is an abbreviation for memorandum, Latin for, "it must be remembered". Thus, a memo is a brief written message that - you guessed it - contains information that should be remembered. When planned appropriately, it can be a proactive communication strategy that gets ahead of a frustration before it arises. I like to put out my memos on Monday, before the work week begins. This allows me to look to the week ahead, checking school calendars for atypical events or campus activities that will impact my team as a whole, and serving as a reminder of what protocols and procedures may need revisited in order for the week to be a success. Here are the steps I take when preparing my Monday Memo - an activity that, once a template is in place, should take no longer than about 15 minutes to start your day.
Pro Tip: Prepare your Monday Memo before you leave the office on Friday afternoon. Information is fresh in your head regarding what went well and what needs to be reinforced and you won't have to rack your brain come Monday morning.
That's it! Four quick, easy steps that facilitate proactive communication in an email that could have been a meeting. And for some, it certainly still can be! You will know the teachers who require individual follow-up when a drill doesn't go as planned, or when you have to remind them about attendance protocols for the fourth time. Remind them about the importance of reading the memo, and that it is a tool to aid in their success. A quick 15-minute memo can save everyone a lot of distress over the course of the week if planned with intention and with grace.