What problem are we trying to solve?

We’ve all been there.  The meeting that starts out well.  It may even have an agenda, there may be a review of previous meetings and work done to this point.  And then, to quote the author of a recent blog post, “pigs fly”.  The meeting gets out of control with all sorts of discussion and proposals and things seem to go in circles.  Charles H. Green wrote a blog post for TrustedAdvisor LLC, here, where he explains why he uses a consistent question to bring the group back to task.  “What problem are we trying to solve?”  It sounds so simple, yet is very effective.  It’s a good question and is framed in a neutral way to get the group back to the real issue.  As Green states, “Logically it has the same effect as saying, ‘You fools are all over the map – you can’t even define the problem’ – but the emotional effect is totally different.” 

Sometimes this simple question surfaces that there are multiple problems at hand or differing views that need to be resolved before progress can be made. 

Try it in your next meeting and see if brings everyone back to the key issues. Let us know how it works for you.