By ignoring the wisdom of those with more experience, we end up repeatedly revisiting the same issues.
“History repeats itself over and over again, but most of us have short memories.” – Mike Colter, writing in Origin magazine, 2014
I feel that I should preface this article with an apology. I want to stress that in my thesis I am saying nothing new, and there is no censure or criticism of anyone in the process. There is, however, an implied apology from my younger self to anyone of a different generation whose wisdom I inadvertently dismissed due to my youthful enthusiasm to make my own mistakes.
Let me explain. By a very rough calculation, I have spent more than three years of my life in meetings. These have included charitable committees, where the nature of the beast is more one of reporting on what has been done rather than making new decisions. Then there are the tick-box meetings of some universities, where nothing is actioned but the set agenda is completed so the powers-that-be erroneously believe something has been achieved. And lastly, there are the professional committees where high-achieving middle management, who know their time is precious, expeditiously discuss and debate pertinent pragmatic issues and proffer solutions and investigations.
Committees are the linchpins of decision-making – and that is a human setting where memories are a real, earthly contribution that can be embraced or ignored
As you will infer, I am not a great fan of most meetings – apart from the last type noted. I have always believed that meetings in the public sector are held for the sake of the meeting, whereas those in the private sector and professional bodies are held to seek solutions. So it is odd that my thesis today is that it is the latter which fail to embrace the wisdom and experience of their elders.