The Magic Behind Closed Doors

Meetings are magic. Even when facing clear facts, our decisions are ultimately based on myriad emotions, opinions and rationales, the result of shifting conditions and circumstances.

For all the discussion in advance–in person or online–you never know what will happen when when the doors close, and everyone comes together face-to-face to make a decision. New insights or old grudges can surface and transform the debate.

Issues predicted to fail can stage a last minute “Hail-Mary pass” – and pass. Other decisions considered a “slam dunk” – land right on the garbage heap of failure.

That’s because the decision itself and the debate behind it does not belong to any single person. Once a proposal has been put forward for discussion by the group, it belongs to the group. And once the proposal passes or fails, it is the entire group that must take responsibility.

So, make sure you look before you leap forward with a proposal:

  1. Are you reinventing the wheel? Was this idea already addressed? This is particularly important for for newcomers. Rehashing old issues can create unnecessary drama…leading to disappointment.
  2. Does your proposal have a tangible benefit? The fights are always vicious when the stakes are low. Trivial matters can trigger everyone’s ego…and defenses when there’s nothing to lose.
  3. Can you clearly articulate your idea? Half-baked proposals usually wind up in the trash. They are also often an open-call for endless amendments…leaving you far from your starting point.
  4. Is this your ego talking? It’s easy to get attached to an idea. Make sure that you are prepared to accept being on the losing side.

With these tips in mind, you might not be able to count your chickens before they hatch, but you can avoid the worst cockfights!