Sea Captains & Meetings on the Mound

A couple of weeks ago, I read a blog from author Jon Acuff in which he made reference to a nautical novel, Red Seas Under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch.

In the book, Lynch writes about the meeting habits of a group of sea captains.

“There was no wine, no food, and no sitting when the council of captains was called. Sitting only made people more inclined to waste time. Discomfort stripped sentiment from everyone’s words and brought them to the heart of their problems with haste.”

If you want to get down to business and be more productive in your organization, “go sea captain” and require everyone to stand up at your next meeting.

Need a mental picture of what this looks like? Think about a meeting on the mound in a baseball game. Four or five people, everyone gives their input, the manager has the final word, and then it’s back to business. Always short, and if anyone gets long winded, the umpire steps in and breaks it up.

Give the stand up meeting a shot. Make your target 10 minutes and appoint your assistant or someone else in the organization as the umpire. You don’t come out, they come in.

I can’t wait to hear how it goes.



Have you ever had a meeting where everyone stood?

What are your meeting secrets?

Leave a comment

Chris Patton

9 years ago

Randy, I love this idea.  If someone wants to read more on it, here is an Inc. Magazine article on it…  
A guy named Verne Harnish also wrote about it in his book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.
We have never used it, but you have me thinking about it again. Great post!


9 years ago

Thanks CP, but I can’t take full credit. Acuff’s blogpost inspired my thinking as well as Lencioni’s book, Death by Meeting. I will read the article. You need to read Death by Meeting if you are thinking about making a change. He outlines 3 different types of mtgs in his fable. Great stuff!


9 years ago

I’m going to try this. I will let you know how it goes


9 years ago

Awesome Dan. Keep us posted!


9 years ago

FYI Donald Rumsfeld did not have a chair in his office. He stood at a podium to do all his work. Like him or not I bet he was productive!


9 years ago

Very interesting Mike. Thanks for commenting!

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