What does it Mean to Use the Agenda as a Contract?


The Facilitator is responsible for honoring the agenda contract. The Facilitator keeps the questions and the discussion focused on the Agenda item. Be gentle, but firm, because fairness dictates that each agenda item gets only the time allotted. The Agenda contract is made when the Agenda is reviewed and accepted by the whole group at the beginning of the Meeting. This Agreement includes the items on the Agenda, the order in which they are considered, and the time allotted to each. Unless the whole group agrees to change the Agenda, the Facilitator is obligated to keep the contract. The decision to change the Agenda must be a Consensus of all those present, with little or no discussion.

At the beginning of the Meeting, the Agenda is presented to the whole group and reviewed, item-by-item. Any member can add an item if it has been omitted. While every Agenda suggestion must be included in the Agenda, it does not necessarily get as much time as the presenter wants. Time ought to be divided fairly, with individuals recognizing the fairness of old items generally getting more time than new items and urgent items getting more time than items that can wait until the next meeting, etc. Also, review the suggested presenters and time limits. If anything seems inappropriate or unreasonable, adjustments may be made. Once the whole Agenda has been reviewed and consented to, the agenda becomes a contract. The Facilitator is obligated to follow the order and time limits. This encourages members to be on time to Meetings.


Source: On Conflict & Consensus

Contributors: Amy Rothstein, C.T. Butler

Recommended Books: On Conflict on Consensus