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Showing posts with the label ask better questions

Questions about Advice

Do you like to give advice? I don't know how many times people have asked me for advice and in return I just let them hear what I had to say about what I thought they wanted to know. That has two big problems:  Maybe I haven't really understood their issue, and Maybe they aren't really ready for advice until they've thought it through By asking questions, I can learn more about their situation to find out if I even have advice worth sharing on that situation. Sometimes, they have all they need to solve the problem by themselves. Also, by asking questions and letting them think through the situation in greater detail, they can tell that I'm not just going to pull out a stock answer -- and the answer will come from our dialogue together, not some ready-supply of world wisdom. I'm smart, but I can't solve everyone's problem. How about this -- do you like to get advice? Asking for advice (without paying for it) can be an imposition. It can also be rude. It c

What Do You Know?

I remember making up an answer. If I'm honest, I've done it more than once. How about you? And, sometimes the answer was right. But of course sometimes the answer was wrong. Instead of looking like I didn't know the answer, it looked like I made it up. I don't do that anymore. I don't know everything, and I admit it. I'd like to know everything. I'm working on it (LOL) but not even close. How about you? Sometimes, in order to discover how much a team member knows, I'll hold back on information that I DO know, to allow them to explore and discover it. That could be considered pretending to NOT know the answer, but honestly, many times by staying silent that gives the team member time to think it thru, explore the idea, and discover a fabulous answer. Often, that answer is much better than the one I had in mind. Pretending to know the answer is less useful than pretending to NOT know the answer.  Stay curious. It works. -- doug smith

What's Your Superpower?

Would you like another super power? There's a skill that, once you start using effectively, begins to feel like a superpower. You never have to settle for a poor answer again. I learned this from my mentor Andrew Oxley, who taught me "if you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question." Try it. It takes practice. At first you might run out of questions. But, if you stick with it and work at it you can always, always, always come up with better questions. And if you get stuck, silence can even be your better question. Just don't give in. Just don't give up. Ask better questions. Remember what Andrew Oxley said: If you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question.  -- doug smith

Keep Asking Questions

One of my mentors, Lester T. Shapiro, taught me that the primary role of a leader is to ask relevant questions. If we get that right, leadership becomes much more influence and much less pushing an agenda. Stay curious, keep learning, and keep asking questions. And when the questions lead you to a conclusion, maybe remember this: Every conclusion contains many more questions. Keep asking. -- doug smith

Ask With Curiosity

In every workshop I facilitate - every one - I share this important piece of wisdom from one of my mentors, Andrew Oxley: "if you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question." That's profound. That's powerful. That's endlessly useful. Often, people will struggle with that. Sometimes they ask, "How do you ask better questions? What if you can't think of one?" Here's the answer. Ask with curiosity and you'll think of better questions. Stay curious, my friend. -- doug smith

Find a Better Way to Ask

Sometimes the answer is no, and we don't like the answer.  We could give up. Oh well. Or -- we could ask a different way. Maybe our expectations were not clear. Maybe our intensity was not clear. Get clear. Stay persistent. Not all the time -- it still makes sense to remain open, curious, and able to be influenced. But when you've got to have what you've got to have, and you are struggling to get it -- try a different way. Some suggestions: - find the value in what you want from the other person's point of view - show how NOT getting what you want impacts the other person negatively - ask in a different way - add humor (gently) - use analogies ("On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a solid 10 for me!) - find the mutually beneficial outcome. It could be something different. There are always more possibilities. How do you know there are still possibilities? If you haven't gotten something you like yet. What ideas do you have? --  doug smith