Strategic Discussion Can Help You Solve More Problems
When does solving a problem require NOT solving a problem?
One of the best things about operationalizing a company is the structure it provides around making decisions.
If you’re familiar with our Growth Method or other business operating systems, you know they all tend to emphasize efficiency.
Take the weekly leadership meeting (ON Track Meeting), for example. It’s designed to:
- Take the pulse of the team
- Review KPIs and quarterly goals
- Communicate updates
- Revisit previous commitments
- Navigate new challenges and opportunities
That’s a LOT to cover in 90 minutes. The reason it’s even feasible is because the meeting is so structured. And for the most part, it works extremely well. When it comes to dealing with issues, teams can process them at a surprisingly high rate.
BUT. Ultimately, these types of meetings—and these types of conversations—aren’t meant to address the big problems.
They’re for operations, not ideation.
Which means that long, potentially meandering discussions that may not drive to a solution actually DO have a place inside your business.
Some problems can’t be solved with a quick fix. They’re too big, too thorny, too complex…or too sophisticated for the team members who are trying to solve them (including the CEO). They can’t be addressed with a 2-minute conversation.
So how do you have discussions about the larger challenges while still making sure they are productive? Here are a few ground rules to follow:
Set aside dedicated time for this conversation. Don’t derail an operational team meeting to tackle a thorny issue, and put enough time on the calendar to thoroughly discuss.
Approach with an open mindset. You should walk away from a discussion with greater clarity, but you may not have a 100% solution for moving forward. That’s okay.
Start with a question. You should try to get to the heart of the issue you’re trying to solve. Your question may not be perfect, but use it as an entrance point for discussion.
Embrace thinking out loud. These conversations may have twists and turns; they may even feel like they’re going in circles. Up to a point, that’s okay. Talking is the way that many of us (though not all of us) process information.
Give it time to breathe. Silence is okay. You may need multiple sessions or days to get to a meaningful conclusion.
Every idea is a good one. Even if it sounds stupid at first. And especially if it’s nothing like the solution YOU would have come up with.
Eventually, look for a solution. You can’t rush the solution, but at some point, you want to emerge with at least a clear next step and a sense that you are moving in the right direction.
Some challenges have a clear resolution, and more discussion only muddies the waters. Others need time and space for the right next step to appear. The real wisdom of an entrepreneur is knowing the difference between the two.
P.S. If you’re struggling with a problem in your business that seems unsolvable, our team may be able to help. Reach out today to connect with a consultant.