When groups of people get stuck on a problem--whether over culture, systems, process, understanding, or something else--the best solutions can come from asking the right questions.
This question, cited in Big Change at Best Buy (by Elizabeth Gibson and Andy Billings), is one of my favorites: "Is this an issue of heart, head, or hands?"
The first step in solving a problem is correctly diagnosing it. As a facilitator, I often watch groups jump past this diagnostic step in an effort to find a quick, silver-bullet answer. Although this is understandable, it's not ultimately helpful: Getting the right answer to the wrong problem is the wrong answer.
Using the Technique
If you are in a meeting or brainstorming session and the group is in a repetitive or circular discussion about a problem, ask the "heart, head, or hands" question.
There may be some disagreement--a failure in one area could be causing other ones, for instance--but you can usually come to an answer as to the primary obstacle. Start with that one first. After you've resolved it, you can work your way through the other two.
Your next action will depend on what you've decided is the key problem:
I was recently in a leadership team session trying to address this question, and the debate was pretty energized. What we discovered was this: Everyone wanted the initiative accomplished, but no one wanted to lead it. There was no heart for the change.
The CEO's reply was very strong: "If this isn't important enough for any of you, my executives, to want to take this on, then I don't want to hear about it from any of you until one of you will."