We often get so wrapped up in finding a solution for a specific issue we forget what the original question was. We find ourselves solving problems which were not part of the original question, and solving those problems quite wonderfully to be sure, then we look back and realize the original issue remains unresolved.
I have been in too many meetings where this exact thing has happened, and I just bet you have as well, so what is the solution? May I respectfully suggest that when an issue is defined, you write it down, keep it in front of you, do not let it get covered up with all the other pages you will be generating on the way to the solution, and once in a while, look back at the question. If the discussion seems to be wandering off track, be the hero of the moment and remind the group what the central focus of the issue was initially.
I have sat on conference calls for hours as a simple question such as “where will our lunch meeting take place?” morphs into a discussion of traffic, vehicle types, gas prices, the current policy in the mid-east, and the greed of the corporate structure. When the call is completed we discover the plans for our lunch meeting have not been resolved so we have to reconvene. This is simply the wonderful unlimited working of the human mind at it’s finest.
Do not be afraid to ask “What was the question?” if things seem to be getting out of focus. This applies to the boardroom, and your own mind. Always keep in mind exactly what is to be resolved, and the solution will come so much more easily.