The Proverbial Seat at the Table. It's Like That, & That's The Way It Is
Over the last 15 years I have found myself at different executive tables. I have played the role of the lone wolf HR guy, the presenter at the meeting, the meeting leader, the participant, the note taker, the silent awkward guy and the Facebook checking person in the meeting, etc. The seat at the table is a formality. The decisions, the discussions, the truth, the real affairs often happen before the meeting. If the executive meetings have too many people (i.e., greater than 10 or 12) then no real discussions or decisions get made. The meetings become updates and report outs. If you do have to present a topic that needs a decision in front of a large group of people, then I hope you have worked with the key decision makers before the meeting. Sounds unproductive, But It's Like That. And That's The Way It Is (HT to Run DMC).
Some HR people still cry about not having a seat at the table. They have had it for years and they are too foolish to see it and mistakenly think a seat at the table will help their credibility. Happens outside of HR too. See cranky accounting or out of touch marketing pros and such. Many times your credibility already exists amongst other executives. You need to use it, move fast and forward with your decisions and not get hung up about the seat at the table. The seat is just a seat. It's what you do with the seat before and after you sit at the table that counts. It's Like That And That's The Way It Is. Stop crying.
There is nobody to blame for this bizarre human behavior. Happens at family and friend's tables too. The topics at your friend lunch table will most likely not be new. They will be ideas and news that each of you probably already know about each other. In the case of family table discussions they can be just as dysfunctional as your executive table discussions. It's Like That And That's The Way It Is.
Be aware and accept the dysfunction and work toward making things better. Assemble and be clear who is on your team and work to make the team better. This will require you to get out of your office seat and sit at many tables. Keep pushing the norm to break through status quo behaviors and mindsets. It's Like That And That's The Way It Is.