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Meetings, Bloody meetings.

Posted by Philip Smith on 11 December 2020
Meetings, Bloody meetings.

How acquiescence can make us stupid.

For almost a year now we have been subjected to arbitrary rules and regulations. Today we can have 10 people at a funeral, 15 at a wedding but only the bride and groom may dance, 30,000 people at a footy game, cant order a drink at the bar unless you wear a mask, but you can sit down with 2 friends for dinner, providing they have red hair and are left handed.

The QLD Chief medical officer admitted, on television, that the footy game, with 30,000 fans attending, can be allowed because it brings in lot of money. 

She appears to have a special deal with this supposed fatal virus to leave 30,000 people alone, but to kill off the 11th person to attend a funeral.

It is important to note that not one of these, unelected, Chief Medical officers have been prepared to provide the evidence or reasons for the confusing and contradictory rules and regulations they have imposed on us. 

The media has given those in power a free ride and we appear to have become a nation of sheep.  

What does all this mean for us in business, with our new Zoom meetings and work from home staff?     

Did we have fewer meetings, the same as usual or more meetings, and what impact has this had on our businesses? 

Just how many meetings happened all over this country, for no reason other than to make up the ever changing rules and regulations? 

One can only speculate on the nature of the Zoom meetings resulting in the "ministry of silly ideas" and other unintended consequences.    

We could try and visualise the meetings where many silly decisions were made and I have one example to illustrate the point.

Last week I encountered a sign at a major shopping centre that had me smiling, as it presented me with an opportunity to test the resilience of a decision made by a group of senior managers.

As one would expect from the management of a large enterprise, no decisions would be made without involving, marketing, OH&S, customer service, HR, gender equality, inclusion managers, Covid managers, Climate and environmental management, maintenance services and a raft of other departments. 

This sign would have been debated, discussed and then debated again, in a series of meetings for approvals of artwork, graphic design, size, placement and who knows what else. The total cost, from idea to implementation would be huge, but was the objective met?

The sign states: "Eating & dwelling is not permitted on these seats". At the time I took the picture above, all the seats were empty, not one person sitting anywhere.

One might therefore conclude that the sign is a success, if the intention was to prevent clients from using these seats directly outside a major supermarket.

Not wanting to break their rules, but requiring some clarity, I decided to email the Centre management. I did this using the Contact Us option on their website. 

The web form provided an option as to whom my message was intended for and I selected "Town Centre Management team". 

My question to them was - When confronted by this sign, we were unsure of what constituted a "sit" and when a "sit" became a "dwell".

I did not point out that the sign appears to indicate that "dwelling" is ok as long as you do not eat ( eating & dwelling ) nor that it would be rude to eat on the seats, I would use a plate or the packet my biscuit was wrapped in.   I also did not point out that the primary dictionary definition of "dwelling", is a home or place to live in.

Two days later I received a response explaining all about how they value customers and how the safety of customers is important, that they are following rules regarding covid and links to government rules. This response was drafted by a person with the title of "Office Assistant". 

The different fonts on the first and last line shows that the content in between  was a copy and past job, what more could I expect considering my silly question I suppose and they really took my question seriously, don't you think?   

They were however silent on my simple question " when will a "sit" become a "dwell".

I wrote back and after complimenting them on the artistic elegance of their signs, pointed out that they did not answer my question and suggested that surely the difference between a "sit" and "dwell" could only be measured by time. 

Who knows what amazing response I might receive, to my last email.    

The real question is - What were they trying to say and how long did it take to formulate the wording, how much did it cost to produce these a signs that alludes to something, but provides no clarity. Were they trying that hard to not offend anybody?   

No doubt the meetings required some level of consensus and they might be wise to remember what Mrs Thatcher said about that subject.


"The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: 'I stand for consensus?"

Let's hope the new year delivers more clarity, fewer meetings, less consensus and remember never stop laughing at silly rules.

Philip SmithAuthor:Philip Smith
About: Philip specialises in getting projects and businesses that are not performing as well as expected, back on track.
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