I’ve observed an ailment in many sessions over the years, and lately I’ve been prescribing the remedy more than ever, so I thought it worthy of a blog. It occurs during issue solving, and odds are that you’re dealing with it too. When a leadership team is addressing an issue and one of the leaders is explaining the issue to the entire team, many times he or she makes very general, generic statements to all team members when the issue really only has to do with one or two people. This normally stems from a fear of conflict or lack of accountability on the team, and it’s costing you valuable time and causing murkiness, confusion, and lack of resolution.
One trick to make this problem go away instantly is to ask the person, “Who are you talking to?” A fun example that cements this point is to remind the person speaking of how Mr. Miyagi told Daniel-san in The Karate Kid (the original movie) that you must “look eye.” This is always a light break in the intensity but is a powerful discipline.
When addressing an issue in your Level 10 Meetings or Quarterlies, I urge you to have the person who is stating the issue address the person who owns the issue, created the issue, or has the issue in his or her department. It’s vital that he or she looks into the eyes of the person who owns the issue and communicates directly. You’ll find that this will save you many, many hours of wasted dialogue and help you cut to the chase and solve more issues faster.
A simple trigger is when you get to the “identify” step in IDS (the Issues Solving Track—click here to download). Simply start by asking, “Who are you talking to?” Then, “What is the issue?”
Try it this week!