Focus On

Power Half Hours – Problem Solving

Have you ever worked anywhere where communication has been a problem? The likely answer is unfortunately yes.

Or worked in a company or agency where there is just a bad atmosphere and some managers and their staff just don’t have the relationship to have open and transparent conversations?

Again, I would be surprised if you haven’t worked in an organisation that struggles.

There is an increase of issues around workplace culture and communicating clearly.

Over the years with the increased number of communication channels this issue of poor communication, over communicating or communications break down has increased, in many cases instant messengers and centralised tools have decreased the efficiency of communication and people knowing what they are working on and why. This has also increased the confusion around company strategy causing major confusion.

I have found a simple formula can help this, however, it does require a third person to help to facilitate conversation and have what I have dubbed a problem solving power half hour or hour session.

The Problem Solving Session – Power Half Hours Format:

1. Speak to the parties impacted and book a time to sit down and run through a series of questions to gain clarity.

2. Speak to the parties individually and understand what the current state of play actually is and how they see it.

3. Ask for the important projects and milestones that are coming up, list these down.

4. Devise a series of questions that unlocks what is actually happening.

5. Create a narrative that both parties agree to.
Be clear this is to improve communications and you are a temporary assistant to help to centralise and align both people.

6. Agree in the session what the projects are, what the statuses are and the priorities. Deadlines are important, I prefer soft and hard deadlines as this set people up to know what success looks like and that it might not be perfect first time.

7. Have total agreement of the notes and the next steps and if you need any more clarification.

8. Have a centralised space where all three parties can and will check the agreed list and the next steps. Keeping this updated is essential.

9. If you can always check in twice, first time they will be some positive feedback, typically the second interaction this can be lost or not kept on track

Important Step

10. Remove yourself as the middle person and remind the two to come to you only if they cannot realign.

Typically here is this the time for absolute radial candor and likelihood is they need a people person / HR rep to help them. Two strikes are often too many so keep this mind.

Happily get in touch, to let me know how you get on.

Click here for a template to use for your power half hours

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