Getting to getting to

I was reminded once again this week of the importance of the deliberative process vs. outcome. Or perhaps better put, I was reminded that sometimes the best outcome is simply the deliberation itself.

In business one is often extremely focused on solving problems and moving on – sometimes at the expense of valuing the discussion around the problem. This week I was in several meetings where instead of pushing through to a quick decision on something we stopped and had a longer conversation. In one case this resulted in people having the chance to voice an opinion about a matter that we almost blew by without realizing that there were such strong views around the table – eventually reaching what I think was clearly the right decision, but something that had we not stopped to talk about would have been pushed off and not dealt with for at least another month. In the second case a similar discussion took an unexpected turn as we realized that the answer we were trying to come to wasn’t actually to the question that we needed to be asking.

In both cases we could have easily move off of a topic before really talking about it because there seemed to be an easy and fast (although in hindsight incorrect) answer. If all we were searching for was that answer we would have completely missed the boat.