Parking lot conversations usually mean that people are not saying what they really think in meetings, which means the school community is deprived of their perspectives and experience.
Parking lot meetings usually mean that important problems remain unsolved and the school community is deprived of an important source of professional learning.
Parking lot meetings usually mean that there is a low level of trust in the school community.
Parking lot conversations also undermine trust.
What can be done to address this problem?
1. Name the elephant in the room. Begin a crucial conversation about this important subject, a conversation that will likely be the first of many. Ignoring or minimizing the problem only feeds the elephant.
2. Establish meeting agreements in which participants agree to have important conversations within meeting rooms. The agreement also specifies what will be done if it is violated.
3. Use protocols to engage everyone in the conversation to ensure productive meetings.
4. Include professional learning as an agenda item in most meetings, if even for a few minutes. Ideally, such professional learning will be closely linked to the meeting’s primary purposes.
What processes do you use or have you experienced to address the problem of parking lot meetings?