We’ve all been there, on a call, on a meeting, the problem is being discussed, ideas are being thrown out, but nothing is being decided. You look around the room and see people starting to get disconnected, checking their phones, they are no longer invested and they are losing focus of the problem.
It’s at this point that someone needs to take control of the situation at hand, because if they don’t, not only will this problem not get properly resolved but everything that happened before this meeting will be ignored and forgotten and all that will remain will be whatever this was.
First, if the conversation started as an offshoot at a standup or status meeting and has gone on longer than 5 minutes with no end in sight, it’s not the time to have the discussion. That will be a separate discussion and that will happen later in the day.
Acceptance of this must happen.
Second, if you are the only one accepting the fate of this discussion, then you are now the owner who has to steer people away from the conversation. And the only way you can do that is by being the owner of the problem, taking control of it, telling everyone you’ll setup a separate call, gathering all the information, and working with the team to get it resolved.
It might not be what you had planned for doing that day, but it will definitely be what your team needed you to do that day.