Drained by constant bickering at management meetings?
Facts are sacred – but comment is free. Hence the smörgåsbord of opinions that bounce back and forth around a meeting room from various departments with their own vested interests.
It’s only natural
Such disagreements are quite natural, with various contributors having various motives and thus different views:
Sales people prefer having large marketing budgets, push hard to minimize unit sale price, ask for lots of stock to be available, and fight for easier payment terms for customers, all in the hopes of higher revenues and thus higher performance bonuses.
Production managers want a large stock of high quality materials and the most advanced production lines, so they can produce high quality goods.
Financial people focus on having the necessary cash available at a specific time to finance all reasonable requests, while maintaining a healthy balance sheet.
Shareholders want the value of their holdings to appreciate over time.
Top managers (shareholders hope) therefore focus mainly on the company’s growth and its sustainable future cash flows generating capability.
Substitution of impressions by facts
Secondly, disagreements emanate from what I call the ‘substitution of facts by impressions’. On many occasions, people from different parts of company, meeting over important business issues, have the tendency to slip from rational factual and consequential assessments of a situation, to presenting emotional and unsupported statements, intuitions, ideas or flights of fancy to somehow defend their standpoints.
01 Be very specific about your meeting objectives.
02 Discuss only generally-available facts.
03 All attendees must be prepared for the meeting.
04 Listen carefully – and hang up your ego with your jacket.
05 Meeting is about discussion. It is not a one person show.
06 Keep the meeting short.