Z stands her ground

This evening’s meeting was the fourth in a series, one leading to another. I was the only person on all four committees, and at this one I was taxed exhaustively about certain decisions.

Although they were committee decisions and I was a mere-smear representative, we all knew that I’d played my part in the decision-making – though I will argue a case, once decided democratically, with due vigour even if I didn’t actually agree with its conclusion. Nevertheless, my good and respected friend Dino made me explain and justify every aspect – and in some regards my ground was, if not shaky, not exactly rock-like either.

At the end, I suggested an alternative proposal from the one put by the committee, and this was agreed. When the meeting was over, I told Dino how greatly I’d appreciated his rôle as Devil’s Advocate. I like someone who will challenge a point when it would be easier, and possibly more popular, to let it go. I appreciated his quick, in-depth appraisal and understanding of a complex matter – I can read a balance sheet too, but not understand its nuances as quickly as he does. His term of appointment is ending and he has offered to stand down – I said I would very much like him to carry on (possibly with a sideways shift to represent a different body where there may soon be a vacancy) as his experience and willingness to challenge is absolutely necessary and appreciated.

Afterwards, he invited us to his party in three weeks time.

I’m not actually argumentative, in fact. But I can, if pressed, and I am pretty damn good, and I love to find someone who can do it as well as I do. He argues in the same way as I do, tenaciously, logically, from the high ground and sticks to the point until it is addressed. No shifting of ground or digressing – or at any rate, we both return to the point if there is a drift down a byroad.

Anyway, yes, he was unnecessarily dogmatic – which he acknowledged – but his point was valid and worth debate, and I’ve agreed to take it back to the other committee (committee no.3, that is) for further deliberation.

When I returned outside, my bicycle saddle was covered in ice.

12 comments on “Z stands her ground

  1. dharmabum

    i love arguments. i don’t enter into many, because i find it pretty tough, because more often than not, people tend to take it personally. i love it when the other person has the objectivity to oppose my view point, not myself.

  2. Z

    Yes Dharmabum, I agree. Not that I love arguments, but the rest.

    Dave, self-sufficiency rules around here – I provide the heat to warm my saddle.

  3. Z

    I keep forgetting to take one and, since it’s been quite wet recently, usually ride around with a damp bum in consequence. It was only 7.30 when the meeting finished though and I’d not expected it to be so frosty by then. Thanks for the suggestion and I’ll try to remember.

  4. Anonymous

    Not anonymous, BW,
    *continues spells against Blogger*

    The trouble is, there are too few of us around who will take debate to this level in meetings (and put up with the oft ill-disguised sighs of those who’d prefer an easier life).

    So you inevitably get the sort of government we now have, at local as well as national level.


  5. Z

    In a committee meeting it can be tricky to get the right balance between reasoned and hard-argued debate, giving the less voluble people an opportunity to come in and taking too much time. It is often the case that a trivial matter occasions most discussion. For a good discussion you need people who know what they are talking about, who don’t make it personal, keep to the point, can listen as well as speak etc. At a meeting the other night, everyone was asked if they needed clarification on any matter that had been fully reported in the last minutes, which few had attended. One person asked for more information – one which aspect? she was asked. “Have you read the minutes?” I added. She had not. They were emailed to her a month ago.

    John, are you saying I’ve got a big warm arse? I’ll not argue with you.

    Dave, that would be pinched within moments. Not my bum, the saddle cover.

  6. The Boy

    That’s a valuable sort of person to have in a meeting. Far too often people talk without listening, or listen without questioning. A questioning listener is a rare combination.


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