CAST your mind back over your last several business meetings. Chances are, at least one of them consisted of you and several colleagues sitting around a conference table discussing how to design or market or acquire some sort of widget. As the end of the meeting approached with no decision in sight, the discussion probably heated up as people up and down the table jumped in to make their points.
Well, not all the people. Tucked among the active debaters were probably a few silent employees who watched the give-and-take like a tennis match. Some of their ideas had to be at least as good as the off-the-cuff suggestions being tossed around. But they apparently sized up the situation and decided that the risk of speaking up — the chance that they would be ignored, shot down or labeled a troublemaker — outweighed the potential benefits.