The Psychology of Being Last and 4 Other Ways to Level the Board Meeting Room Table

boringspeechBoard meetings are often reporting festivals.  Endless polite reports reminiscent of “what I did last summer” essays from the first day of elementary school.  It’s too bad.

Calculate the hourly consulting rate of the people in the room (for example, 15 board members x $100/hour = $1,500/hour).  At $1,500/hour, do you want to talk about the past or the future?

Board members, inside the meeting room…

  • Never do what the last person in the conversation advocates. It’s a trick manipulative people do.
  • Consensus is not unanimity; votes needn’t be unanimous. After the decision is made, however, everyone needs to back it.
  • No devil’s advocates; take responsibility for your disagreement.
  • Read the ED’s report beforehand. EDs: issue your report at least a week before the meeting.
  • Your ED is not responsible for writing and executing your strategic plan. You are.

3 responses

  1. I don’t understand the first point:
    Never do what the last person in the conversation advocates. It’s a trick manipulative people do.

    Maybe that is obvious to most people? But I have no idea what that is supposed to mean.


    1. In a group setting, when there is a lot of discussion about a certain topic, too often there is one person who hangs back until he or she can chime in at the end with the “perfect” answer. Unfortunately, due to argument fatigue, the rest of the group chooses to oblige just to move on to the next item or better, to end the meeting entirely. Very manipulative and calculated behavior in the passive aggressive mode.


      1. “Never” do what the last person advocates? But if you are having a discussion, and over time, the ideas are improving with interaction, doesn’t it makes sense that at least sometimes, the last idea is last, because it is connecting up what everyone’s been looking for, and no one adds more, because they’ve found the right answer?

        Liked by 2 people

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