Wednesday, 18 January 2017

If you only ask one question.

Every day leaders are required to make decisions.  Some are profound; others are sublime. Often times it is fair to question whether a decision really needs to be made or whether someone has simply abdicated their responsibilities.

Before a decision is rendered, you typically need to know some information to make an informed response.  In my opinion there is only one question that you need to ask.  That question is ‘…how...’

It may be followed by some clarification such as ‘how will this make a difference’ or ‘how will this be accomplished’.  In every instance the ‘how’ is a call to action.

‘How’ challenges the participants to be part of the solution.  ‘How’ implies that ‘why’ has already been considered because you do not seek solutions to that which is not required. 

‘How’ looks to the future while considering the past. 

‘How’ recognizes that ‘when’ is now.  ‘How’ demands a positive response.

‘How’ engages all parties up and down the decision-making chain and in so doing it answers the ‘who’.

And ‘how’ fulfils ‘what’ by defining the action to overcome inertia. 

When ‘how’ can be answered all the side issues become mute.  Your call to action; those included in the solution; the anticipated outcome; the timeframe all become defined in the process resulting from the answer to one simple question.

HOW?  Not why, not when, not who…just one simple question.  How?

As a leader you want to make sound decisions while developing your staff into intelligent, thoughtful team members.  When they know that your first question is ‘how’ you will have encouraged them to come to you with fewer questions and more solutions; seeking approvals not answers. 

Any organization that reaches this point is on the verge of greatness.  Just ask ‘how’!

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