It can be hard to decipher whether people want to truly solve the problem you are thinking. But that first question can save a lot of trouble in projects, relationships and business if you can get what people want.
Solving the problem you are thinking matters may not be the priority. In your work with others, they may want something else instead:
- To look good in front of their boss
- Documentation to cover for their ____
- A feeling of importance
- Feeling secure just in case
- Their gain your pain
- Ideas and strategies they can claim as their own
- Appearing busy
Listen carefully and observe your customer or the team you are working with. The clues in behaviors, inaction, focus and interchange can reveal what really matters and whether solving the problem is really what matters.
Then it’s up to you to figure out if you want to give them what they really want or bow out.
If you are not making progress in your work with someone, think about that simple, question, “Do they really want to solve the problem?” It can save you a lot of wasted energy and grief.