Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Why Meetings Are No Fun

I was reminded today of the Abilene Paradox. In short, four people end up doing something none of them really wanted to do, each because they think everyone else does want to. In the corporate setting, I call it the "Team Player" disease. It is particularly pernicious when some parties in the meeting are on speaker phone (pitching the idea) and can't see the body language of the other participants. The people in the room are looking at each other and shaking their heads but trying to make positive noises about the item under discussion. The people on the other end of the phone think everything is going swimmingly if only a few minor details are dealt with when in reality, the whole thing needs a fundamental rethink. I wonder how much time we all waste in meetings like this because nobody wants to be the first to say "it won't fly?"
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