Leaders can make significant improvements, in fact, all of us can bring greater value by asking four fundamental questions on a regular basis. If the first question is to ask “What is there to celebrate here – what is right?” and this also happens to be the most neglected of the key questions that leaders need to ask, then if you took the last blog to heart, you have begun to bring that tone-setting question into play.
However, if you only focus on what is right, then you are building momentum and buy-in but may be missing some critical things that need to be addressed. Therefore, the second key power question that needs to be asked, after the first one is being worked, is, “What is wrong here – what are the one or two things that if we addressed and corrected them would make the biggest positive difference?”
By asking that as your second question, you take the positive momentum of having clarified and called out what is working well and worthy of celebration and bring that engagement to addressing the one or two core problems or areas of weakness or opportunities for improvement. This focus, listening and being non-defensive about what is said, opens the minds and hearts of those around you to focus on seizing the few most fertile opportunities to make significant progress. We want all team members to feel free to not only recognize what is right and to celebrate that, but to also bring forth the top one or two concerns or issues that, if addressed, would make the most positive contribution to improving operational performance, team interactions or working relationships.
So do ask “What is Right Here?” but also have the courage to ask the Pareto rich question, “What one or two things are wrong here that if addressed would make the biggest positive difference?” The quality and integrity you bring to your questions as a leader and team member can make all the difference in the world.
Next Blog: The 3rd Critical Question to Ask