The Power Of Asking Why?
When there’s a success or a failure in the workplace, you hear a lot of “whats” and “hows”, but what about the important “why?” And, no pun intended, but why isn’t it asked?
Promotional Consultant Today looks at the power of why, and uncovers the secret to problem-solving in the workplace.
A boss sits down to have a meeting with his employees. They’ve fallen short of a goal, and so the boss asks: “What happened? How did you attempt to meet your goal?” One by one, the employees give him a litany of reasons, all of them centered on situations, experiences and the steps they took in attempting to reach the goal.
They’ve failed to make the mark, no doubt, but even after this discussion, the reason for their shortfall is still unclear. That’s because despite all the questioning, the boss hasn’t gotten to the real issue. He’s failed to ask the most important question: “Why didn’t you achieve the goal?”
Compiled by Cassandra Johnson
TOP SHELF TIP NO. 51
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, German scholar
Asking situation-type questions prevents the boss from understanding the real issue. It also keeps employees from doing the necessary brainwork required to uncover it. The results are answers that amount to fluff. Problems aren’t identified and the proper corrective actions are not developed.
Leaders should focus on “why” people do what they do versus “what” they do. Asking the powerful question “why” forces people to think deep. They can then peel back the layers of excuses and get to the root cause of the problem. For example, if employees have failed to meet a goal and are asked “why” questions rather than “what” or “how” questions, they might give responses like, “I didn’t prioritize my time.” So the boss must then go farther and ask, “Why didn’t you prioritize your time?” When the employees say they have too much on their plate, the boss, once again, must ask “Why?” The final answer: These employees are given many tasks from their boss and cannot distinguish between what is and what isn’t a priority. With the real problem revealed, the boss can now take appropriate action, perhaps setting up time to help them prioritize their many tasks.
Here are some tips for asking tough questions in the workplace:
• Deal with “elephants in the room.”
• Limit situation-based questions (i.e., what, when, how,…?).
• Ask more “why” questions.
• Ask open-ended questions and keep yes/no questions to a minimum.
• Wait for the answer once you ask the question.
Tomorrow, PCT looks at the challenge behind asking “why” and shares more tips to tough questions in the workplace.
Source: Lee Froschheiser, president and CEO of Management Actions Programs (MAP), works with many premiere business leaders and companies nationwide. He is also co-author of the best-selling book, Vital Factors, The Secret to Transforming Your Business ” And Your Life. His consulting firm, MAP, specializes in implementing the MAP Vital Factor System, which creates goal alignment and uses accountability to drive company results.
This email was sent to by firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email Marketing by
Promotional Products Association International | 3125 Skyway Circle North | Irving | TX | 75038