In some sports, there is a penalty for delaying the game – deliberately stalling with the intention of using the delay to own advantage. I believe it is in the rule books to keep the games from becoming dull (especially in sports of high-speed actions) and/or unnecessarily prolonged.
Well, sometimes I wish we had this penalty in the meetings my people hold in which decisions must be made!
There seems to be a tendency for them to think that meetings are where people come together to discuss what issues should to be discussed, not the issues themselves, let alone their desired solutions.
I rarely see discussion materials, not even agendas, distributed to the participants ahead of meetings, so no one comes informed or prepared. When the meeting starts, we often have to spend time – and usually most of the time allotted for the meeting – to gain a common understanding on what the issues are that need to be discussed.
But maybe it is possible to save all of this time if everybody became a responsible participant and did their homework, so they could bring their thoughts to the table from kick-off.
I also rarely see a clear path on which the discussion is to head, so it often becomes dispersed and diffused. The participants are usually so keen on holding no preconceptions in the direction of the discussion, they quickly become immersed chasing around in equal length every possible cause and effect of the issues… even the ones that have little impact and/or is practically implausible to occur.
But maybe it is possible to save much of this time if evaluation of the issues could be done beforehand to drop all the “never-gonna-happen’s”, and consolidate all “been-there-done-that’s”.
And then, of course, it usually takes forever to reach a conclusion, better known as a “consensus” to my people, because no one likes to make their position on the issues clear until someone else does. They use up more additional time holding “meetings” outside of the main meetings on how to achieve unanimity. (By this time, it is rarely discussed whether or not the proposed options are truly correct and/or best!)
But maybe it is possible to save a lot of this time if the outcome to be obtained can be defined and agreed upon first, and then everybody will naturally come together to reach the correct and best conclusion… not the one receiving the most votes in favour after much tug-of-war off-field.
I get so frustrated when discussions are stalled and prolonged – they may not be aware of it, but I consider it quite deliberate not to do the things that could be done to run discussions with speed and action, and absolutely unnecessary to do the things that could be avoided if the focus remained on the issues themselves and not on how many points can be won by being on whose side.
The chairperson of a certain committee said, after the third meeting they held today, that he feels “they have finally gotten to the starting point of the discussion. [my translation]” If you asked me, the starting point was right at their feet the entire time – no new issues that had not been brought up before arose in the three meetings they held.
I really wish I could give them a penalty for delay of game… or I am afraid they are going to penalize the individual awaiting the conclusion they are to reach, if they can at all. The discussion must not become dull, and it certainly cannot be unnecessarily prolonged!