29 Apr 2004

Lord of The Flies

The Discussion Session is designed to replicate a team meeting without the biscuits and the distractions about last night's Eastenders. The difference between these meetings and the real thing is they are conducted under the gaze of ‘observers’ and the participants have the knowledge that they need to jump through hoops.

Everybody knows that they are being watched. Everyone knows that they have to ‘score’ points. Nobody wants to stick their neck out too far.

“You are a group of five, call centre, Team Managers who have been left stranded on a desert island… In 15 minutes you need to decide, who stays, who goes and an action plan of quick wins.”

Candidate One: (Snort, Snigger) OK, that seems straight forward enough. I suppose we need to start thinking about what skills we all have…

Two: Do you not think that we should appoint a timekeeper?

Three, Four and Five: Yes. Yes.(Mutter, mutter, something about “Keeping on track”)

One: Yes … err …

Three: Yes. And do we need to assign tasks?

Five picks up the laminate. Reads it over and over and writes notes for the rest of the session.

One: So …

Four: Should I take notes on the flip?

One: So ...

Three: Five minutes.

One: So ...

Four: Should we use different colour pens?

Repeat until the will to live has all but disappeared.

Robinson Crusoe would have been okay, if only he’d found a flip chart and some pens.