Why You Should Implement A Gag Order At Your Next Meeting

Image courtesy of David Goehring's photostream

Image courtesy of David Goehring’s photostream

In a previous life I worked for the Chief Security Officer for a large hospital.  I was often present in the Incident Command Center during critical times such as facility closures, new facility openings, and even visits from the President of the United States.  Within the Incident Command Center there was a gag order in place meaning that you didn’t speak unless spoken to.  This was critical for the efficient transfer of information.

While I am no longer involved in security briefings I still believe in the gag order.  I am sure you can relate.  You are involved in a complex project with many moving pieces.  There have been endless meetings, discussions, plans, and reviews.  Some one new comes in to the mix and starts asking questions or bringing up points that were long ago thought of, questioned, discredited, or resolved.  The team is frustrated to rehash old issues, the new person is frustrated that no one is listening to them or that their ideas are not being taken seriously, and the whole project slows down.

This is why I believe in the gag order.  I think it is a great idea to bring in fresh eyes and fresh ears to learn about a complex project.  I often think that person has a unique ability to identify concerns or see something that may have been missed.  Often the key players get what I called stuck in the weeds and have a hard time catching details.  Those fresh eyes are invaluable, as long as it is handled correctly.

A gag order is not to be mistaken for doing things the same old way because that is always the way that things have been done.

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