Would this solve our problem?

If the answer to that question is a “no” or a variant thereof you should probably stop and reconsider what are doing. Yes, this sounds generic, I know but that’s intentional because I know this works for almost any challenge you’re facing right now. If you’re bold enough to answer the question honestly.

This seemingly innocuous question is powerful enough (at least in my experience) to help me achieve several breakthroughs (in communication, thinking) and arrive at resolutions that I might have otherwise not. And that’s primarily because it’s so easy to get lost in the haze of confusion, irritation, or just plain old frustration a question like this forces people to analyse the problem at hand and assess how their behavior is helping them get to a resolution.

Of course, this works only with folks who are desperate to get to a resolution. Walk away from the others — ones who want to win the argument or if they hate you — because your goals are misaligned and it’s just not worth your energy. You’re better off dealing with it some other time, if, you and the other person are convinced that having a conversation will help you solve the problem.

The art of conflict resolution is based on three basic tenets:

  1. Self-awareness and control
  2. Questioning motive
  3. Walking away from an unreasonable opponent

Sure, your skills as an excellent communicator and negotiator matter but just not as much as you think. Sometimes it just takes a simple question to settle the matter.

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