Want to be more productive? Want your team to be more productive?
Make a habit of asking “what problem are you solving?” 3 times per day.
Ask this question of everyone on your team, including yourself.
When a colleague, delegate, or manager fails to clearly name the problem they want to solve after three sentences, INTERRUPT THEM.
You can be polite… or not. That’s your call:)
You’ll be amazed what this phrase can do
- Your meetings and conversations will cost less time – like 80% less time
- Your teammates won’t get frustrated with other – like 80% less frustrated
- You will personally get more accomplished – like 80% more accomplished
I’m dead serious.
Force your teammates to describe their problems before filling you in all the gory details, and then ask why it’s important to solve this problem right now.
Passionate and long winded presentations – are, sadly, a waste of all of our time
When you understand the problem someone is solving, you can filter information for important and urgent signals.
When you don’t, anything could be important or urgent – which causes anxiety and frustration… and the people you are communicating with will checkout to protect themselves from your ramblings.
Most people don’t know the problem they are solving
Here’s what happens. You notice something (or someone asks you a question). You don’t know the answer, so you start poking around. You collect information, some relevant, some not. Eventually, you form an idea.
Next you run off and talk to someone. Maybe your boss, maybe a teammate. You tell them the story. You start at the beginning, lay out all the reasons why you are right, and conclude with your idea…
- Whomever you are talking to never heard your idea because they lost focus after 90 seconds
- You are probably wasting your partner’s time because you never bothered to consider if this conversation is important and urgent for them
Pro Tip: Practice asking yourself “What problem am I solving?” before talking with anyone
Get yes’s when you ask for things – read this companion post: The One Thing I Did to Drastically Improve the Way I Communicate.