I’m sure most of you have either heard of or experienced closed door meetings in the organization you work for. These meetings are called for a variety of reasons; however based on my own experience the main reason is when management is planning some type of organizational change they don’t want their employees to know about. The topics can range forced layoffs to major organization restructure and can create a certain amount of uneasiness in the workplace, so steps are taken to conceal the order of business from the workforce. They don’t want to present a plan or announce a layoff until all the logistics have been hammered out, a general consensus has been reached, and the timing is right. Because closed door meetings tend to be so secretive it’s only natural that a climate of mistrust can develop between management and their employees. This is especially true when the organizational change has a profound impact on the workers of the company. I have personally experienced this first-hand from being on both sides of this closed door.
As a worker and manager I felt the impact of those closed door meetings. More often than not the outcome of the deals cut behind closed doors left me scratching my head as a worker; questioning the wisdom of my managers. It wasn’t until I was on the other side of the closed door that I realized how intense those meetings were. There were times when the meeting became so heated shouting matches actually broke out between the sections heads over the transfer of workers to different shops, or the best strategy to increase production. This was an opportunity for the managers from the different sections to openly voice their opinions on the subject being discussed away from the ears of the workers and without fear of reprisal. This is how it rolls in many organizations. Each day major organizational decision are made in this manner and sometimes it gets ugly.
Back in 1787 when the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia, the delegates were sworn to secrecy and when in session the doors were closed from the public and press. The reason behind this was because a few of the delegates wanted to float the idea of scrapping the Articles of Confederation and crafting a stronger document that would not only protect the individual liberties of the people and but also create a partnership between the states and the federal government. Out of this 4 month closed door session our Constitution was born. For the first time in world history a group of enlightened individuals produced a document that made the people the masters or managers and the government the servant or employee. It even included a clause (Article V) that permitted the people to come together and have their own closed door meeting if the government grew out of control or the people felt there was a need to implement some type of organizational change. The founders believed in the wisdom of the people to set things right.
Today in Washington D.C. we see a number of meetings that are closed to the public. Deals are being cut behind these closed doors that tend to favor special interest groups and hurt “We the People” in the end. We’ve witnessed first-hand how closed door meetings work in Washington. We have seen it with ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and now the debt ceiling debate. In the end we pay the price while those friendly to our elected officials are protected from pain dispensed by a terrible law. How did these roles get reversed? How is it that the employees or the servants are the ones deciding our fate behind closed doors? Are we not the employers, the masters of our government? Our founders believed this to be so. Today if we dare to speak of such concepts we are labeled as radical extremists. How did it become so radical and extreme to desire to get back to our founding principles of individual rights, limited government, and states’ rights? The answer is we the people allowed it to become so. We fell asleep at the wheel and allowed our elected official to whittle away our liberties a bill at a time. And most of these bills that became law were crafted behind closed doors.
Ask yourself how we con remain a representative type republic if the practice of closed door meetings is the norm. The answer is we can’t. Without open debate “We the People” in a sense are robbed from the opportunity to know the details and offer up our own solutions through our representatives. It hampers our ability to constructively participate in the process because we do not have the information to base an opinion off of. It creates a climate of mistrust. Leaving the constituents in the dark does not advance the republic; it erodes away the foundation and will ultimately destroy it. I somehow don’t believe this was the change people expected or desired from this administration.
Liberty forever, freedom for all!