07 Jul Evolution is a Meritocracy
Your meetings should be too.
Evolution is the purist form of meritocracy.
Only those individuals who have proven themselves to be most successful are able to reproduce, and because of the success of these individuals, the species – all species, evolve.
Because of evolution, the individual, and the group, thrives.
Your meetings, and ultimately your organization, should be run as a meritocracy.
Let’s consider a well-run basketball team.
While there may be a team captain and coach, the fact is that each player works independently, within their optimal skill set, to move the ball forward – freely passing the ball, within a team setting, to the player that has the best opportunity at any given moment.
This dynamic is, in essence, an instantaneous change of leadership.
The player who holds the ball is the de facto leader, and all decisions are at that person’s discretion, even though it may only be for a moment.
There is always a “best” player on each team, however being the best is insufficient.
The best player leads, optimally, when he behaves in the exclusive service of the team and acts as a conduit and facilitator of overall team excellence. The best player passes the ball, sets picks, defends, and does whatever is necessary in any given moment for the overarching goal of the team – to win.
Like a basketball game, which has rules, time restrictions, and goals, all meetings have common characteristics: there is a leader, an agenda, a time limit, and individuals in attendance.
But what about a rule set? Do your meetings have a rule set to facilitate optimal communication? Or do you just wing it?
A set of rules for any meeting, as with any team event, is vital.
One rule for a meritocratic meeting may be to require and facilitate active participation.
Are your attendees allowed and encouraged to participate, or are they just “attending?” Is the meeting structured in a manner so that the leader is creating a safe and supportive dynamic where people can share openly? Where failure is met with encouragement? Or is it defined by hesitancy, and a ridged structure which does not allow for “passing of the ball” as the meeting progresses?
I, personally, don’t seek out leadership roles, however I don’t shy away from them.
When I am put in charge of a meeting, I consider that my primary duty is to create an atmosphere where people are encouraged, and in some cases required, to participate. When the team is close to reaching a decision, I will poll the group, making eye contact with each individual and ask, patiently and earnestly, “I’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Are we missing anything?”
Why? Because even if I’m the most knowledgeable person leading the meeting (which is, to be clear, never), I want to ensure that we have accumulated as much data as necessary to move forward with an optimal decision.
My next blog will be on what I call “Tactical Leadership” and I will quote from my upcoming book:
“Leadership is not a title to be granted. It resides in all of us, as we are all warriors. As warriors, if we are not genetically predisposed or hardwired to be leaders of others, we are certainly disposed to be masters of our own direction. We must exercise our leadership abilities, tactically, when the time requires it and regardless of the consequences. And always, first and foremost, with the goal of being of service.”