This week while at an offsite brainstorm, I was reminded that sometimes not knowing what you hope to accomplish is actually the best approach. So often we are challenged to identify the “end game”…the goals we hope to accomplish. People want to know the objectives of a meeting, the agenda for a trip, etc. This is especially true in the world of marketing and brand n management where time is seen by many as the most valuable commodity.
But there is something to be said about taking the complete opposite approach. There is real value in going into a meeting with eyes wide open instead of with a specific goal in mind. I have found some of my most “productive” meetings to be those where I am just getting together with smart people or people whose work i respect. I don’t go in with a list of things to talk. Instead I want to ask just two questions:
- What are you working on?
- What problems are your wrestling with right now?
You see, these two questions get real discussions going. And they lead you down paths that you generally don’t expect. You end up finding out areas of common interest and even common struggles that can be just fascinating.
There is really something to be said about having a breakfast, lunch or drinks with someone just to learn about what each is up to. It is in those moments that you can find possibilities that you could have never imagined if you went in just with a specific “end goal” in mind.