Monday, October 10, 2011

BIG's Blog: Tangents

Executive leadership can be challenging, especially during meetings. It is opinions (which everyone has) that can lead the department away from the goal of a meeting. These tangents can cause leaders to lose focus on making critical strategic decisions.

Too often we … enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
John F. Kennedy

Does one’s opinion take precedence over really thinking through the issue? It’s possible. Think about this scenario. An executive meeting has been called to discuss a difficult strategic change. Everyone is asked to be prepared to present their ideas on the topic. 

Once the meeting begins, it becomes obvious who has prepared for the discussion. Some individuals present ideas and solutions openly discussing their feelings about the change. Others seem prepared, but instead of addressing the topic, become defensive and try to derail the dialogue. 

Sometimes tangents can be useful. They force people out of their comfort zone and encourage them think about alternative solutions to a problem. A leader must know when to step in and control the discussion and the decision making process. 

When debating important issues, don’t let employees go on tangents that can derail the objective of the topic. Keep the meeting on track by focusing on solutions and not opinions. 

Tangents can be surprisingly useful, but leadership must decide whether to continue or wrap-up the discussions. Valued employees will appreciate a controlled and productive meeting.  


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