Monday, June 30, 2014


Guest blog from Carol Ritter of
Fireworks are much more than a celebration on the 4th of July. Have you ever heard the phrase, there’s fireworks at the board meeting or in the office.  I have been involved in many boards over the years and I recall a mega fireworks story.  It was our dreaded budget meeting.  At that time, we had hired a consultant to fix the “write on the back of a napkin” budget.  She was smart and really took us to a well-designed and legitimate budget.  The board of 35 began their tradition of picking apart the budget one dollar at a time.  One woman would not accept any answers from the professional and continued to nag to the point of disrespect.  I also noticed that she was taking her cues from another board member who remained silent but continued to send signals.  Two things were happening here, the board fell silent and did not stop the insanity and I believed we were on the verge of loosing the consultant.  I jumped in and said firmly, “This has got to stop, you can ask questions without being disrespectful and you can listen for the answers politely.”  Jane stood up and began screaming at me. She said, “I’m calling my husband and I’m quitting the board.”  I said, “Okay, let’s continue the meeting.”  She stormed out. The toxic board meeting changed its personality immediately.  The meeting was adjourned and then I noticed Jane had left her purse.  I took it and went to find her.  When she saw me she jumped out of her seat, threw her arms around me and sobbed while saying, “I’m so sorry!” She told me the real story, that another board member asked her to do this and she didn’t have the ability to say no.  I accepted her apology and she stayed on the board.  

I’m not sure this incident could have been avoided but here are some ideas  for stopping or avoiding FIREWORKS!

  1. If you are the leader, set the tone for respectful conversations
  2. People who set up other people to do their dirty work are easily identifiable, watch for signs - they are generally quiet and don’t often offer solutions
  3. Game playing always leads to FIREWORKS, stop that behavior ASAP
  4. Don’t let the issues fester, solve, solve, solve the problem

Negotiation is such a big word.  It means so much to some and so little to others.  But, it’s all about being willing to come to the table and give something up, apologize or, at the very least, listen to the opposing opinion. 

Let the real FIREWORKS begin, let’s celebrate the privilege of freedom and wishing you a Happy 4th of July!

Carol S. Ritter, Motivational Speaker Results Only Business Coach & Featured 610-442-4545
Carol serves as a featured writer for the Home News and the Lehigh Valley Chamber Blog.Carol is an accomplished professional speaker, coach and educational consultant specializing in innovative leadership, outrageous fundraising, million dollar marketing, and building organizational alliances throughout the country.  Carol’s creative  leadership with bullet proof ideas for recruiting MORE MEMBERS, MORE MONEY AND BETTER LEADERS.  Like Carol on  Facebook at Caroltalks and CarolCoaches!  Carol S. Ritter, Immediate Past President, National Speakers Association Philadelphia

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