"The truest test of a company's cross functional culture is when it's solving a problem. A meeting gets called that no one wants to attend, except, of course, for the people needing to solve the problem. Everyone's busy, and a problem can turn into two things that nobody wants blame and more work.
In episode 38, we share how to run a problem solving meeting and the importance of getting the right people in the room. It's worth a listen. We also talk about the three meeting objectives, how you want to understand, fix, and learn from the problem. But you might not be running this meeting. You were just invited, and that's usually the case. Let's focus on ways you can support the host and be a role model for the rest of the people in the meeting.
Now, I want you to keep this in mind: when you help another function solve a problem, you're going to build your influence and credibility across the organization. There's nothing you can do to grow your cross functional reputation more than by being a team playing, problem solver.
Now, there are three things you want to do:
- First thing is this: Avoid judgment and critiques because it sounds like blame. You want to be empathetic and curious. That's how you help understand the problem.
- The second thing is this: Be supportive, offer assistance, and clarify your role, your contribution. That's how you're going to help fix the problem.
- The third thing is this: Think about the problem holistically. Don't take a reductionist view. A cross functional problem can't be explained by one root cause. A cross functional problem needs a cross functional solution, and that's how everyone's going to learn and benefit from being a part of solving this problem.
Now, one key point. In meetings, people tend to mimic others. If someone is critical and invites the next person and the next person to pile on. But if someone is empathetic and curious, it invites others to be, as well.
Get your head right before you get in the meeting. Chances are you're busy. You may be a little frustrated and stressed, too. That sounds like a normal day, doesn't it? That's not the version of yourself you want showing up for that meeting. But unless you're intentional, that person's going to show up.
Here's a little secret. One of the best ways to feel better about your day is to help others with their day. What goes around comes around. See these cross functional problem solving discussions for what they really are. They are a chance to grow and improve your company, but it's also a chance to grow and improve your brand, your reputation internally, as well."
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