How to Have Fiery Meetings and Not Blow Up

The alternative to fiery meetings is assembling teams that see everything from the same perspective.

Uncontested unanimity is feel-good mediocrity.


7 requirements for fiery meetings:

Invite dynamic tensions on teams as long as…

  1. Trust runs deep.
  2. Respect for talent, skills, experience, and perspective is pervasive and obvious.
  3. Shared vision and mission provide coherence.
  4. Issues, not personalities, stay front and center.
  5. Minds change. You aren’t worthy of being on a team if you never change your mind.
  6. Taking another’s perspective is practiced. What do they really want?
  7. Decisions that demand action and impact behaviors are made. Nothing is done until someone does something.

Bonus: Positive experiences and interactions outweigh negative by 5x.

(Bad is stronger than good.)


Here’s a peek into a recent meeting I had with the three power-people on my team.

Mr. Vision said, “My real concern is that we lose ground. I hate the thought that we might fall back.”

Mr. Vision winced when Mr. Doer said, “We may have to do less so we can get the essentials done.”

Mr. Compassion tried to make everyone see that we share the same concerns, even if we are coming at them from different perspectives.


The three power-people on my team are useful because they have divergent perspectives on nearly everything.


I had a short verbal jousting match with Mr. Doer during the meeting.

Mr. Vision sat back and grinned. At one point, he chuckled and said, “I love this.” Mr. Compassion, on the other hand, doesn’t relish combat.

Mr. Compassion’s fire often speaks to defend and protect. Mr. Vision’s fire often focuses on taking new ground.


Successful leaders create forward movement that reflects the essential concerns of Mr. Doer, Mr. Vision, and Mr. Compassion.

Why do leaders fear fiery meetings?

How can fiery meetings be encouraged, managed, and productive?