Before becoming a consultant on meetings and effective decision making, I was employed as an engineer. My motto then was: Silence is golden. Keeping quiet in meetings was safe and risk-free, and rarely did anyone solicit my ideas anyway. Had I shared my input, however, it might have improved the quality of my team’s decisions and reduced its mistakes. Silence is a common and highly damaging Boardroom problem, one that increases risk and diminishes opportunities.
In 1984, I launched my consulting practice on meetings and rules of order. I had fun advising Boards on demystifying the rules of order and using them sensibly and intelligently to facilitate progress while protecting basic rights. While doing this work, I discovered another Boardroom problem: excessive reliance on rules of order. Boards become entangled in motions, amendments, and other formal procedures and are thereby distracted from core issues. They lose precious time, and their capacity to make quality decisions is eroded.