Setting the Right Table for Leadership

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This past weekend I consulted at a senior management meeting held around the most amazing piece of furniture I have ever seen. My Blackberry photo hardly does it justice. Three inch thick heartwood southern yellow pine. Comfortable seating for 18. Varnish as deep as on a ship’s deck.

It was built by a local physician for the 2004 G8 Summit, held at The Cloister, in Sea Isle Georgia. Accordingly, there are wooden inserts at eight of the seats displaying the national flag of the head of state originally seated at that position. The chairs have plaques commemorating their original occupant. I found Tony Blair’s seat to be quite good enough to do the work that needed to be done.

Round tables are the great equalizers. One really has to work at setting the wrong leadership temperature to have a bad gathering at a round table! There is no place to hide and no place from which to easily dominate. King Arthur had great ideas about leadership, and round seating was one of them.

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Bart Wendell

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November 2010

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