Principle: Spill the bucket in the meeting. When in a meeting, you should share all your thoughts, feelings and emotions in that meeting and avoid sharing your thoughts, feelings and emotions outside that meeting.

Okay, this doesn’t work if you are working and serving in an organization that is unhealthy, political and the leaders are insecure. If you are the leader, this might be a good indicator if under your leadership people feel comfortable being honest. If you punish your people for following the Bucket Principle, you have some work to do and the place to start might be you. If you are a leader and your organization is suffering from the lack of unity and momentum, you have some work to do and place to start might be you.

Assuming you are in a healthy organization, the Bucket Principle is key to building unity and momentum. Here’s why. One of the most deadly things that can happen is when people have the ‘parking lot’ conversations after the meeting. Have you ever seen that? After the meeting, people quietly gather two by two and are talking at the water cooler or their cars. What is happening? They are sharing their REAL thoughts, feelings and emotions. The leader feels good about the meeting and doesn’t realize that real meeting is taking place in the parking lot.

Now be honest, do the parking lot moments focus on what is ‘wrong’ or what is ‘right’ in the organization? If the Bucket Principle is not followed, normally, those moments are filled with criticism, sarcasm and what really should be done. The impact of each of those moments is devastating. The unity of a team is being dismantled. The momentum of the organization is being destroyed. And all along, the leader feels good about the meeting, but can’t figure out why the organization suffers from lack of unity or momentum.

What stops us from being honest in our meetings? We don’t want to hurt peoples feelings and we think we are ‘being nice’ by not stepping on people’s toes. So think about this for a moment. Because of our insecurity, we act fake in ‘the meeting’ and then are real in our ‘parking lot’ moments. Don’t you see that we are slowly and quietly destroying the very place where we work or volunteer? Why is this happening? All because we are insecure and trying to be ‘nice.’ That’s not being nice, that behavior destroys.

Obviously this isn’t giving people the freedom to be mean on purpose and have no filters in a meeting. It simply promotes honestly where it counts most… in the meeting.

Unexpectedly, if you don’t personally follow this principle, you can hang onto unhealthy thoughts, emotions and feelings. As you sit in the meeting and internally wrestle with things being said, and say nothing, you leave the meeting torn up inside. Over time, that pressure builds until you explode. It’s at that time when everyone has to stop and deal with your drama. It’s not healthy for you. It’s not healthy for others on the team. It’s not healthy for the organization.

Also, you must be able to disagree privately and agree publically. Making this principle work demands that you have the capacity to disagree with honesty privately and publicly support the final decision the team made.