The film classic 12 Angry Men is a psychological drama about a jury charged with determining the fate of a young man accused of murder. In just two hours, a single dissenting juror slowly causes the rest of the jurors to reconsider their initial opinions — even, eventually, Juror No. 10, an angry, pushy man whose modus operandi in life seems to be to needle and cajole and rant until he gets his own way.
Although investment clubs never hold the fate of another person in their hands, they do regularly need to reach a consensus on many decisions. Sometimes, however, a single domineering member can intentionally or inadvertently derail a club. The condition, which I’ve named the One Overbearing Member Syndrome (OOMS), can be fatal if not treated successfully. So how can a club deal with OOMS?
In most cases, the key to resolving this malady comes from creating a structured environment for club meetings and business. Here are a few ways that clubs can ensure they’re creating a safe, protected and productive setting for their meetings and overall operations:
1) Make sure each meeting has a set agenda.
2) Carefully structure club meetings, using Robert’s Rules of Order or other standard guidelines.
3) Have an investment policy statement in place that outlines how you and your partners intend to build a portfolio.
4) Establish clear rules for buying and selling a stock.
In the end, the club’s president is charged with the task of overseeing each meeting, which involves a balance of keeping an eye on the clock (so that no single item consumes too much time during the meeting), keeping the peace (so that debate remains cordial at all times) and keeping the sanity (both his/hers and of all partners!).
Developing and adhering to the kinds of structure and discipline described above will reduce the impact of OOMS — and quite possibly improve your club’s investment performance as well.
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