It’s the silly season so time for a little light relief!

Yes, governance has something of a reputation for being a little dry, but believe me, there’s humour aplenty in the boardrooms of Australia, some of it generated by the members and directors, others by yours truly when consulting to boards.

And as most of it is unintentional, it only adds to the hilarity.

So, with the silly season on our doorstep, I thought we’d end the year on a lighter note by getting into the seasonal mood and closing with a two-blog series on boardroom comedy.

In the first blog, I’ll recall some of the funnies I’ve heard in my line of work and just to balance the ledger, I’ll devote the second to a few of my stumbles.

Here goes…

I remember working with an agricultural board with a particularly tough chair. He was a bit of a name around the traps, his knack of putting the fear of God into the rest of the board members only adding to their trepidation.

Being in the agricultural sector, the board needed to visit farms from time to time and on a sortie to a pig farm, our Captain Scary walked close to what appeared to be solid ground but was in fact slurry that had formed a crusty top layer. The chair then took one step too many and, you’ve guessed it, ended up in the slurry.

At first there was silence as the other board members struggled not to laugh but it wasn’t possible. Barely audible sniggers soon gave way to raucous laughter and it was a great reminder to all that regardless of how large our egos, we are all fallible humans.

Then there was the occasion of an induction program I was running for those elected to a major local government authority, one of whom struck me as an unusual and rather obnoxious fellow with low emotional intelligence.

He clearly thought this entire one-day program was a waste of time as he already knew everything about governance – and he wasted no time indicating as much. He turned his chair backwards, looking away from me being his best shot at displaying his contempt for the topic.

During the morning tea break, all the other councillors came up to apologise on his behalf but it wasn’t until lunchtime that our friend approached me and said rather sheepishly that he might just turn around if the afternoon session was as interesting as he’d found the morning session.

Laughter broke the ice and the rest of the day was a great success for all!

As a segue to part two, celebrating some of my less than glorious moments, it’s probably apt to share what I’d term a comic ‘team effort’.

I was sitting on a board, the boardroom having an expansive west-facing window which played havoc with those looking in that direction as the afternoon wore on. The chair had his back to the west so was blissfully unaware of the discomfort until we raised it, suggesting a number of possible solutions.

He thought little of them, pretty much telling us to grin and bear it.

Those of us in the glare agreed in private that at the next board meeting and at a given time, we’d all slip on a pair of black wrap-around sunnies.

The chair looked up to see an apparition of The Blues Brothers and, to his eternal credit, he roared with laughter…..

Until next time,
Kate.

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