The Absent Dictator
A cheeky reference to Robert’s Rules of Order
Many managers find the conduct of effective meetings a serious challenge. Chapter 12 of the book “The Visible Hand” for a firm grip on Accountability, Benchmarking and Control contains a wealth of guidance in running and ordering meetings. Chairmen are often daunted by rules of order which may be designed for a specific organisation or borrowed and applied in whole or in part from an approved authority such as Robert’s Rules of Order.
The humour of the following limerick may serve to convey something of the anxiety experienced by a chairman in employing sound meeting procedure while hopefully reinforcing the worth of mastering such rules in the interests of orderly and productive meetings.
When I first took the chair at a meeting
I confess to a fear so distracting
Psychosis and qualm
It filled me with awe and foreboding
This threat to a chairman's composure
This ogre of complex procedure
A disrupter indecent
Who was not even present
Was "Robert - the absent dictator".
In using procedural tools
We can seem to be absolute fools
As you work the agenda
Someone calls "out of order!".
Oh dear I have breached Robert's Rules
But the more of sound rules that I spurned
The more chaos and farce I discerned
Confusion and travesty
Made my meetings a mockery
The worth of procedure I've learned.
The daunting dictator, once absent
I now welcome with wholehearted consent.
Now my meetings are ordered
Good decisions engendered
We don't start until Robert is present