Is It You or Is It Them?


Leaders think it’s their people.

The team think it’s their leader.

The owner thinks it’s the CEO.

The CEO thinks it’s the Board.

So, who is it really that’s causing the inefficiencies, the rework, the roadblocks between functions, all the unclear expectations, the wrong product going to market, the delay in delivery and customer dissatisfaction?

Is everyone right? Is it everyone?

Or is everyone wrong? And it’s no-one?

Surely, eventually, we have to grow tired of asking who, and start asking why, or much more importantly…what and how.

How did I, unknowingly, contribute to this problem?

What do you need from me to resolve and solve?

How do you need to receive this information from me?

What’s important to you about this?

How can I shift from problem to solution?

What’s in the way that they’re not achieving the result?

How do you learn best?

What question could I ask that will help?

How do I need to shift my approach/ communication so they receive my message?

What did I miss that’s important?

And…what if I elevated my level of ownership?

High quality questions that trigger new thinking.

This insightful HBR article ‘The Surprising Power of Questions’, shares how asking quality questions improves our emotional intelligence, but many of us hold back because we…

  • May be eager to impress with our own thoughts

  • Anticipate being bored with the response

  • Think we already know the answer, or

  • Worry we’ll ask the wrong question

These may be true, I know I’ve held back for all of these reasons at some point. But if we’re willing to turn the mirror on ourselves for a moment, the answers we receive could be considered a reflection of the quality of the questions we ask.

It’s like putting a dollar coin into an arcade game expecting to win the 30 million lottery, the investment just won’t return what you’re hoping for.

But imagine if everyone arrived every day asking “What…?” and “How…?” kind of questions instead of looking for answers to Who.

What kind of return might everyone enjoy then?