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I didn't become a VP just to take notes

Hey team, good afternoon.

Are you the one who’s always asked to take notes in meeting? Tired of doing it?

I’ll show you what to do.

This week we’re also diving into:

Today’s newsletter is a 3 ½ minute read. Let’s get into today’s question….

Dear CEO —

This may seem like a petty thing, but I’m really tired of doing this. 

For some reason, I always seem to get tagged with taking notes at our management meetings. Part of it is my fault. Being a nice person, I did volunteer.

I didn’t mind doing it at first, but now it is expected of me all the time, while other VPs get a pass. As a result, I also find myself unable to participate in discussions because I’m too busy doing the note taking!

Nothing against admins, but I didn’t work hard to become the VP of my department only be seen as the note-taker at meetings.

I’ve tried to politely recommend we have another volunteer on the team, but my suggestion seems to just get lightly brushed off with the group, and it doesn’t help that our team leader says things like: “Lisa takes the best notes.” So I end up once again doing it.

How do I get out of this role that I didn’t intend to last forever?

Lisa, Orlando FL

How would you respond?

Scroll down to read the CEO’s answer and join the team’s conversation here.

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We Have a High-Priority Assignment to Give You This Week: 

Your Health

 Do something healthy for yourself. You can’t burn the candle at both ends and realistically expect your body and mind to go along for the ride.

This week, check out 5 Time-Efficient Ways Busy People Can Improve Their Health.

 Ask your team if they’re delighted with all the weekly meetings. (Hint: They’re not.) Potentially kill some meetings.

But first, you should read Dear Manager, You’re Holding Too Many Meetings from Harvard Business Review. It’s filled with eye-openers.

 Reach out to another contact. We recommended this last week, and we’re suggesting it again. Contact someone in your network just to check in. A network, like a friendship, needs caring and feeding. When the day comes, you’ll be so glad you have a network to rely on.

Beyond keeping up with contacts, check out 10 Ways to Boost Your Networking Skills from Robert Half.

 Rethink your hiring strategy to get better candidates. Ask yourself these 3 questions in HBR’s Hire leaders for what they can do, not what they have done.

 Get the most out of introverts, especially if you’re one! No matter where you fall on the introvert-extrovert scale, it pays to understand and appreciate this type of leader.

Check out 23 of the Most Amazingly Successful Introverts in History.


51 Conversation Starters to get you Talking

We had a good response to this list last week when it appeared in The CEO’s advice to our reader question. So now we’re providing it as a download for your printing or saving convenience.


99% of People Love Canceled Meetings*

💸 18 Meeting Statistics That Will Surprise You In 2023 — Here’s one: Only 37% of workplace meetings have clear goals and objectives. Lots of reasons here to take a hard look at your meeting schedule.

💸 Managing Your Well-Being as a Leader — This article is filled with insights and ideas. Staying balanced is hard, but you’ll last only so long if you deprive your mental and physical health.

💸 Why Pay Transparency Regulations Are a Strategic Management Opportunity — Research is coming in on the impacts of pay transparency, and there are many reasons for optimism.

* Not an actual stat, but it certainly seems true.


Stop Taking Notes, and Instead Take Note

Dear Lisa —

Your situation is understandable, and there's nothing petty about wanting to participate fully in the discussions and decisions at management meetings.

As a CEO, I had the pleasure (and sometimes the challenge) of observing and navigating the various dynamics in the corporate environment.

Your recent note-taking conundrum resonated with me. The dynamics of meetings and roles, both spoken and unspoken, can have unexpected implications on a leader’s professional journey. I remember times when I felt pigeonholed into roles I hadn’t quite signed up for.

Here’s my take based on experience:

While it's a testament to your dedication and skill that you've become the trusted note-taker, it's essential to remember that your primary role as a VP is to actively contribute to discussions, strategies, and decisions. It’s not just about what’s best for Lisa; it’s about what’s best for the company. And having your voice actively involved in those discussions is paramount.

Perhaps it's time to have a candid conversation with your team leader. Approach it from a place of seeking mutual growth. Mention that while you've enjoyed and learned from the role of note-taking, you feel there's more you can contribute by engaging more actively in dialogues. Suggesting a rotation system among the VPs might just be the ticket. It ensures everyone shares the responsibility and gets an equal opportunity to participate.

And, a little trick from my playbook: Always make it about the team. Something like, "I believe that by being more involved in discussions, I can bring additional value to our team and our objectives. What are your thoughts on rotating the note-taking responsibility so all of us can equally contribute?"

Lastly, remember that every challenge, including this one, offers growth and learning opportunities. Embrace it, navigate it, and use it as a stepping stone.


Your Turn…

Do you disagree with the CEO’s advice?

See what the rest of the team says about the letter writer’s situation — and share your own thoughts.

Have a perplexing work or career question you’d like some advice on?

Email [email protected] for a chance to be featured in the next edition of the Dear CEO newsletter.