Break open

There are some discussions that have to be made behind closed doors, away from the body of the team. Commercially sensitive things where you’re concerned about leaks, morale, or competitor manoeuvring. In a public company, market sensitivity adds a few more where everyone is cautious about inside information.

But the list is small and the occasions are rare.

Most times, wider involvement in the process makes for more informed debate and better decisions.

So what’s the point of shutting people out? Two arguments:

It’s more efficient – takes less time. Time is rarely so short that a bad decision today is preferable to a better decision tomorrow. That’s not a licence to prevaricate, but quick-bad decisions are rarely more efficient than slower-better ones. In a crisis, be as quick as possible, but no quicker. The rest of the time, be as quick as effective, and no slower.

Only important people are capable of dealing with the complexity – it flatters the insiders ego. No defence.

Complex and important discussions demand high quality input. Avoid being driven by the clock, break things down, and open the door to anyone who adds value.

Given the choice, discussions should always be held in the open.

Skippy Strategy: How could you bring more people into important discussions? Could you have an open seat at the project/team/board table? How can you open a channel to those two or three layers below or above the usual decision makers?