All great films rely on great stories, and all great stories rely on conflict. Without challenges, there is no surprise or tension and therefore, no drama.
Many board meetings are played out like films: power, ego, deception, blame, and lots of other negative vibes. The board room can indeed be a frightening place to be on a bad day.
Sometimes, of course, things go badly wrong, and in those cases, there has to be a bad day. Uncomfortable, but necessary to put things right.
Unfortunately, for some companies, every board room meeting is a bad day for everyone. Even if someone thinks they’ve won, actually everyone has lost by pushing others or being pushed into a wrong decision.
In such companies, not only is there no intention to reach an agreement, very often there is actual intent not to reach an agreement. When power and politics take over the board room, the result is either paralysis or bad decision making.
On the other side of the coin, boards which agree on everything too quickly could benefit from some positive and constructive discussion. There needs to be some tension, some debate. People around the board room table need to think they have considered the options and come to the right decision.
Getting the right balance is essential and often comes down to having and living the correct cultural values.
If your board meetings are more like a Hollywood epic, then maybe its time for a rethink.
Board rooms are the places to discuss, debate and make the right decisions on strategy. Negative thoughts, behaviours and actions prevent open, honest and insightful discussions.
Successful strategy starts in the meeting rooms and boardroom room. If there is unnecessary conflict at these early stages, the chances of a successful implementation are low.
‘Winning’ board room battles based on overpowering and ego is unlikely to result in a winning strategy. Negativity and big egos strangle strategy.