Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems.
“All one can hope to get by solving a problem is to restore normality. All one can hope, at best, is to eliminate a restriction on the capacity of the business to obtain results.” — Peter Drucker
Meetings tend to be about “the care and feeding of problems”; success often is ignored instead of followed up on and replicated as much as possible. Yes, problems must be dealt with, but when problems are the only topic, insufficient management time is not being directed toward future opportunities.
Meetings should focus vision on opportunity, not problems only.
People see what is presented to them, what is right in front of them. What is not presented, what could be but is not is often overlooked.
Drucker also says: “Most meetings discuss ‘problems’—especially in the areas where performance falls below expectations—which means that managers tend not to see the opportunities. They’re simply not being presented with them.”
And, “Of course, problems have to be paid attention to, taken seriously, and tackled… But if they are the only thing that is being discussed, opportunities will die of neglect.”
Solution? Spend a significant amount of time in opportunity meetings instead of just problem meetings.
NOTE: Thank you to Jason Velazquez for directing me to the Process Excellence Network, www.processexcellencenetwork.com/people-performance-and-change-in-process-improveme/columns/making-meetings-productive/, which deserves credit for the quotes and ideas of this post.