Skip to main content

Ask The Tough Questions

Problems resist easy answers. That's why we need to ask the tough questions.

Why are things the way they are? What is the deeper cause? On the surface, we may think we understand a problem. Digging deeper, asking probing and open ended questions, we can get at the heart of what is really going on.

Are people being rewarded for incorrect behavior? Is someone benefitting from the problem situation? If so, who? Is it too easy to ignore the problem? Is the source of the problem aware that there is even a problem?

For example, those who most resist a fair distribution of work are those who may not be working too hard. Why change?  Executives making juicy bonuses may not even be aware of how hard it is to live paycheck to paycheck.

Creative problem solvers ask the tough questions with curiosity.

Not to judge. Not to punish. But to know. What's really going on?

Centered problem solvers use their creativity to separate people from the problem. They use their compassion to feel the discomfort of those in the throws of the problem. They use their courage to boldly propose better paths. And, they use their clarity to define their goal.

Ask the tough questions. Stay curious about the answers. Solve those pesky problems.

Where could you be more curious today?

-- Doug Smith


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Leadership Questions: Your Perspective

Until you can communicate your perspective to your team, how will they ever give their best effort to achieving your goals?

We all see things differently. Let your team know how YOU see things.

-- doug smith


Keep Improving

There are no perfect people, products, or processes. Life is more or less a constant improvement project.

-- doug smith


Open the Door

When was the last time you caught someone in a lie? How did you react?

It was probably not that long ago, maybe even today. People lie to each other everyday. Some of those lies we let pass, but some startle us so much in their boldness, in their malice, in their deviousness that we are emotionally moved to do something about it. What should we do?

We could react with anger. That is sure to stir up more anger.

We could react with sadness. Surely, we have every reason to be sad, but what will that accomplish?

A better reaction? Call to question the statement in question. Here are some things that work for me:

"I'm not sure that I understood what you just said, could you say it another way?" or
"I'm not sure I agree with that. Can you convince me?" or
"Wow." (the word I sometimes say when I can't think of what to say -- OR I'm thinking of a word that would not be socially acceptable or polite. And yes, even when you catch a lie in action yo…

High Performance Leaders Talk About It

Sometimes the best place to start is to talk about it.

-- doug smith


It's the Long Haul

High performance leaders know that performance is a long term goal not a short-term gain. Think long range, long term, and strong impact.

-- doug smith


Quality Matters

A typo can be the difference between distinction and extinction. Quality matters.

-- doug smith


Truth Provides Sustainable Esteem

A lie is a try to buy self-esteem and the price is too high.

-- doug smith

Keep The Kindness

Do you know someone who will say anything? Some people have no filters, as one of my friends used to say. No sooner do they think it and then they say it. Sometimes, it doesn't even seem like they gave it much thought.

We all have important things to say. As leaders, what we say has direct results on how our teams perform. We can talk with an edge if the relationship is strong enough to support a high level of assertiveness, and we can say nearly anything IF (and it's a BIG if) we include respect and kindness.

When we can talk about it with respect and kindness we can talk about anything.

Keep the kindness, whatever you say.

-- doug smith


Communicate Your Expectations

This is a picture of my good friend Tubs. He has a look of anticipation and expectation in his eyes. He wants to be sure that whoever he is communicating with understands those expectations. If his tongue is showing, he expects a treat. If there's a toy in his mouth, he expects to play. And if he walks toward the door, he expects to go out.

Life is simple and good when your expectations are clear.

As a leader, you probably have some expectations, too. You expect a certain level of performance from each of your team members. You expect a certain professional conduct. You expect respect.

Does everyone on your team understand, clearly, your expectations? Not last year's expectations, and maybe even not last month's expectations, but rather your current expectations? And, not only what you expect but to what level of urgency do you expect prompt action?

Let them know. Tell them again. They do need to be reminded. There's no room for a mystery here, is there?

Communicate y…

Building Your Team: Start One on One

Find out what your team means to each team member and then build from there.

-- doug smith