The man-in-charge paced behind the chairs, with his soft, calculated steps completing a tense and slow atmosphere. The women sitting in said chairs were either looking down, looking straight ahead or looking to their phones.
“I don’t understand why our team has trouble collaborating. We are behind and we need to finish on time.”
Bright white overhead lights ensured that no one could hide from the situation room. On an easel at the end of the table was a paper drawing of a tortoise and a rabbit, with the word collaborate written in black and all caps above the animals.
The other men sat, no one daring to leave their seats. Though they wore the same tie, collared shirt and dress shoes as each other, they searched around the room and looked down in equal frustration. One of the younger men looked very blank and vapid as he watched the window that he happened to have been facing.
No one in this room wanted to compromise. Some of them wanted to avoid the issue of the lateness of the project and the lack of project. No one wanted to speak, except for the MIC who was responsible for the project in the first place. If the MIC’s assistant had spoken her mind, she would have eagerly offered to find coffee and lunch for the crew. She sat staring ahead, which drew glances of sympathy from a few of the others in the room. The crew had a long morning, where no one was escaping the elephant in the office that day.
Another woman thrust open the meeting door, with thick black glasses and long curled hair “I thought you guys would like something to eat!”
By the time she was finished with her sentence, another MIC from the other side of the floor was carrying in boxes of donuts. The original MIC took this opportunity to leave the room as he swept his hand through his forehead and hair.
Sometimes solutions are unclear.
*Originally published on LinkedIn on Oct 2015