Do you need an Executive Fight Club?
Updated: Nov 3
John F. Kennedy said a camel is “a horse designed by a committee.”
Paraphrasing Charles Kettering, “Want to kill a great idea, get a committee working on it.” Why is this sentiment on committees so prevalent that even Presidents feel compelled to sound off about them? More often than not, it boils down to competing agendas. Efforts to satisfy these agendas end up pleasing no one, and the idea receives the infamous “Let’s table this,” purposely deflecting difficult decisions. Unfortunately, too much can-kicking down the road, and the brand and business tend to suffer.
How can management improve the perception surrounding committees? Remember the 1999 movie Fight Club? I am not suggesting you create an executive team-only fight club. …although now that I say that out loud? No, I refer to Brad Pitt’s and Edward Norton’s character who had a split personality. This immediate “On/Off” switching is how we should treat decision-based meetings. Naturally, we may have a strong opinion on how a project should be managed or a problem attacked. Often a by-product of job-related passion, this is perfectly acceptable. Although, you must leave some of that passion at the exit when required. During your committee meetings discussion phase, be a Brad Pitt. Make your case, be passionate, and state your ideas on how a project should be run. If your ideas are accepted, fantastic. If the committee chooses another direction, leave the meeting as an Edward Norton, entirely and wholly onboard with whoever’s idea the committee decided to back. Taking resentment with you into the workplace at this point only hinders your progress and the company. The entire group must collectively be on board with its final decision to succeed and reach the desired result. If not, business lines can suffer when executives shun project outcomes, they didn’t personally champion. I am Jack’s Inflamed Sense of Rejection.