How do you help leaders connect the dots?

Alright, so we have all been there, as I was this morning, sitting at the table during an important meeting. You watch, listening intently as the live tennis match of points, counter-points and other subtly irrelevant comments are made by leaders about a project or initiative that you are heavily invested in. You can see how there is a disconnect between the current phase of the project and the leaders slightly disjointed understanding of the project. They simply do not see the big picture. Your deep involvement has led you to see the intricate details and impact this project will have once completed. As you wait patiently for your moment to inject your solution to their points in a direction that you have seen is the path to go down, what do you do?

Here is my process:

1. I survey the audience for how technical my answer may need to be

2. Formulate a simple concise response that addresses the points of the leaders in an example separate but relevant to their points, that help them connect the dots between theory and application

3. Then kindly ask if you can interject and let your points do their work

How do you handle these types situations in your work environment?

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Profile Photo Andrew Krzmarzick

I like how you said “ask if you can interject.” I know I’m guilty of launching into the interjection without asking…but timing and respect are everything.

That equation: Interjection – permission = rejection

Of course, there are moments when a person needs to speak up boldly…but doing that too many times usually leads to an erosion of political capital.

Profile Photo Andreas Addison

I was in a meeting recently, the meeting in which created this topic, and we are discussing the implementation of a CRM system. The leaders weren’t familiar with the technology and were voicing how they pictured this system would help “their” customer service delivery. Returning to the silo’d thinking that we were trying to break. I patiently waited for my time to speak, and formulated my response based upon their issues while providing an example that could be realized and understood by everyone. They were focused on CRM’s assistance for our call center, and I took it a step farther and expounded on how the system, once implemented, could assist our face-to-face interactions as well. The single source of information and service requests provided an ability to interact multiple services and information into one centralized location that will assist in all departments customer service delivery.

Does that help provide context to the discussion? I concerned my role to be educating the leaders on the functionality of the system as a whole, which was outside of the current meeting focus and discussion. Opening their eyes was helpful for the project overall and building top-down support and knowledge.