In organizational or company work, there are always a lot of fires to put out. Meetings lend themselves to expanding the universe of things that need to get fixed. There is a natural tendency for people, in discussion, to link things together making problems or issues larger and more massive.
Ironically, while this expansion is happening, voices in the room begin to offer and advocate for simple solutions that will take care of everything. They argue that if we can do “this” than everything else will take care of itself. My years have shown me the foolishness of following and trying to follow this elongating snake of issues, ideas and suggestions.
The fundamental problem with these discussions is in the truth that, in the long-term, everything is fixable or doable. Long-term discussions rarely lead to effective execution. You gain little traction when focusing on the long-term.
What is hard to do is to begin solving one problem at a time. Not two or five but only one. Out of the myriad of ideas, issues, and proposed solutions, you need to pick one to start working on.
The challenge is to continue to work on one problem while these open-ended discussions continue. We easily get distracted. The next idea we hear sounds inviting. We put off, maybe not consciously, finishing what needs to get done as we waste time thinking about that next idea and future (in the long-term).
The skill is finding this first problem to solve that will provide you a foundation to build upon going forward. It’s kind of like putting one foot in front of the other. What I find that happens, is that once you solve one problem at a time, the other unsolved things change shape. We now understand a little bit more. We have learned some new things as well.
Solutions forthe next problem to solve will change, based on your new understandings of solving this one (first) problem at a time. It seems slower to do it this way. Just remember how well the tortoise did against the hare to give you the hope that you will reach your long-term dream much more quickly by never truly paying attention to it while solving one problem at a time.