Mercy Home’s next Speaker Series Workshop will be lead by Arnie Aronoff. Aronoff will be giving a presentation called “Making Meetings Meaningful in Adolescent Mental Health.”

Prior to Aronoff’s visit, we chatted with him and got more information about his background and what he’ll be sharing during his presentation.

Q: Tell us a little bit more about what you’re going to be talking about at Mercy Home specifically, and what you hope people take away from what you talk about. 

A: I will be actually not talking a lot. I’ll be facilitating an experiential workshop on how to participate in an effective team meeting. When I say participate, I don’t mean just the person who’s formally leading the meeting, but every single person who’s at the meeting. How to increase the level of engagement, so that people feel a sense of ownership about process and about outcome, and the meeting becomes efficient and meaningful. That’s what I’m hoping people will walk away with.

Q: Could you give us an example of something that people can do, in order to make the meetings more efficient? 

A: Yes, they can start on time. Because if you don’t start a meeting on time, if you say you’re going to start at 10 a.m. and people come late, and you don’t start the meeting until everyone’s there, you’re sending a signal. Two signals. One signal is to the folks who were there. The signal you’re sending is, it doesn’t matter that you’re there, because we’re not going to start the meeting until everyone else gets there. So the next time, those folks are going to say, “Why should I get there on time? He’s waiting anyhow.” So they don’t come on time the next time.

If you wait for the others to arrive, you’re sending a signal to those people who are late, that it’s okay to be late. So you create a reinforcing culture of lateness, and so very simple example is to start on time. I say start on time, even if it’s just doing nothing, talking about something that is of low priority on the agenda, but the signal is that the culture is, we start on time, doing something. It may not be the most important thing on the agenda, that everyone needs to be there for, but things get going at the time that they’re scheduled to get going.

Q: What made you interested in this kind of work? 

A: I have a Ph.D. in history, which has nothing to do with what I do, but there were no jobs in my academic field and so I changed careers and went back for a second master’s degree in a field called organizational development. It’s really about change management.

I’m very interested because some people focus on the organization level, some people focus at the dyad level, like supervision of me and you, I focus on the team level because I’m very interested in group dynamics and what happens in groups. I also have a background as a therapist, and so more at the group level, I’m interested in how people show up psychodynamically in groups

Speaker Biography
Arnie Aronoff is the founder of Group Concept OD. He began his career in training and development at the University of Chicago, first as a career and professional development coach and then as the manager of the Universities first comprehensive adult learning facility for employees. Throughout his career in higher education, including time at Princeton University, Arnie consulted with organizations both large and small on issues related to group development and group effectiveness. His clients have included the Chicago Transit Authority, Cook County Juvenile Justice System, the Association of Flight Attendants of United Airlines, Chicagoland Tails Magazine, Children’s Memorial Hospital of Northwestern University, Foster Farms, Inc., the Greater Chicago Food Depository, and the Ounce of Prevention Fund. In 2010, Arnie decided to focus his energies full-time on building Group Concept OD, a consulting firm specializing in helping groups and their leaders optimize their effectiveness. His industry specializations include academic medicine, healthcare, higher education, government and nonprofit management.

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