Management Tactic #22: Alcohol


As my current and former coworkers could tell you, I can be kind of anal. I wouldn’t say that I’m stubborn, per se—really, I’m quite reasonable—but I have a certain way of doing things that I generally think is correct. I’m open to suggestions, but I never like to hear “this is just always the way we’ve done it.” I want reasons, facts, data.

So yeah, I’m really anal.

Today I had a meeting with a few people about some important decisions regarding a major event next year. The meeting was in the early evening, and there were a few non-staff members involved, so we had had beer instead of normal daytime beverages. I’m a bit of a lightweight, and on an empty stomach, the my one beer definitely had an effect on me.

I came into this meeting with a pretty firm idea of what we should do. There was a right answer and a wrong answer, and even though I wanted to hear everyone’s thoughts, I was pretty sure what the end result would be.

What I didn’t account for was the alcohol warming my veins. As we discussed one of the decisions we had to make, for which everyone seemed to lean away from the practical solution, I started getting excited about the challenges and possibilities involved with that decision. What if it’s not so cut and dry? I thought.

By the end of the meeting, no decision had been made, but I had joined everyone else in leaning towards the opposite solution that I had entered the meeting with. As I noted to my coworker as we walked out, “It’s a good thing I had that beer—otherwise I would have been a lot more firm about my preconceived notions.”

This makes me think that alcohol should be involved in more staff decisions and meetings. Not much—just enough to get some ideas flowing, some possibilities not as easily dismissed. There are plenty of stubborn and anal and closeminded people out there. Why not loosen them up a bit so they can give little ideas a chance to grow and flourish?

The next time we have a staff meeting, we’re taking shots of caramel Schnapps before we get started. It’s going to be the best meeting ever.