How small is a small beginning?

At a workshop on Small Beginnings (the fourth step in our Path to Sustainable Change), a table group was looking at the way meetings were conducted in their organization. They said people came to meetings as if they had fulfilled their obligations simply by showing up. And if they were asked to vote on a decision, they felt completely within their rights to say they would have to take the matter back to their function for discussion before casting a vote. Also, there was no such thing as a final decision—what was decided in one meeting could be reversed in the next one. So they made a list of small beginnings that included these two requirements:

  • People must come to meetings prepared to make decisions, and to speak for their function.
  • Decisions can be revisited only if new and relevant information becomes available.

Small, procedural, beginnings at the ground level of organizational life. But imagine the last meeting you went to, and ask yourself: How different could it have been if everyone there had been ready to make a decision, ready to speak for the function they represented, and fully aware that every decision made would be the real deal unless there was a valid reason to reconsider it?

Bill @ sr4