Stephen Covey in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” shares habit 2 Begin with the end in mind. We all like this saying, have posters on our walls about Vision and Achievement and Success!

Few of us are actually doing it!

Most meetings begin with the problem in mind. Then we discuss the problem, what caused the problem, if the problem we identified is really the problem, and then comes the need to blame someone for the problem. This makes everyone uncomfortable then we decide to make the problem and who caused the problem undiscussable, making the matter of an unclear pattern of the connection to the problem undiscussable because it usually is managements fault it’s just easier to blame them.

What to do?

Begin with the end in mind. Your team and you may not be able to see the end…and determining what you want to have happen will go further to achieve the solutions you are looking for.

When you see people beginning with the problem in mind ask them:

  • What should be happening in place of the problem?
  • How will we know that the solution is happening?
  • How close are we to the solution already?
  • What things are in our favor?
  • How did we make that happen?
  • What is the next small step we can take towards the end we have in mind?

Doing this doesn’t remove the problem or the blame, it just shifts the discussion to one of inward spiraling doom loops of the past and false memories of what happened, to a constructive talk of the present and making things better in the future.

What do you think?

Have you attending a meeting lately that started with the problem in mind? Do you have an example of a team working to solve a tough challenge with the end in mind?

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