I received one day a note from the Marquis de la Fayette, informing me that he should bring a party of six or eight friends to ask a dinner of me the next day … These were leading patriots, of honest but differing opinions sensible of the necessity of effecting a coalition by mutual sacrifices, knowing each other, and not afraid therefore to unbosom themselves mutually. This last was a material principle in the selection …
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Leaders need privacy, trust and encouragement to speak openly.
The French national assembly needed to make a proposal to the King regarding future governance. With too many competing interests, they were unable to reach an agreement. This post and the next two will highlight essential principles in bringing unity out of conflict.
1. One person took the lead.
2. A neutral meeting place was chosen by the leader.
3. An uninvolved individual facilitated the gathering.
4. The meeting began with a meal.
5. The attendees were all influential leaders.
6. They were honest patriots committed to a common cause.
7. Although they differed, they understood a unified coalition was essential.
8. Each man would have to give up something to create that coalition.
9. They knew one another well enough to be able to speak freely.
Others might have been invited except for # 9: Familiarity with one another, and the resulting trust that came with it, allowed the risk-taking necessary to speak honestly. This was essential if there was to be any chance of success.