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What Kinds of Questions


Do You Ask?


  [Here are 23 for YOU to answer!]          


Dear Boss: Do you really need some answer you already probably know, or are you seeking some actionable insight about the individual, group, idea, or circumstance you’re questioning?

Did you ever consider that the more disciplined your management approach, the less likely you’ll want to know more than a yes or no answer, and the more likely you are to be a misfit in today’s business world?

Oooh, sorry, are you perhaps one of those exceptions who runs some quasi-military small business? Or you per chance captain a deep-sea fishing boat? Maybe you oversee electrical wiring experts who work on the tops of telephone poles, or workers who paint the top of the Washington or Golden Gate Bridge? You manage a shooting range? [You get the idea?]

Did you realize that the closer you are to the people who are the heart of your organization, and the better you are at exercising leadership by example, the less likely you’ll be to find gratifying results from asking questions that prompt yes or no responses?

Do you think through what you really want to know ahead of time, or simply wing it by firing off rounds of disjointed questions, figuring that  — because you’re the boss — you’ll get answers to everything you ask anyway, and will eventually find out what you want to know?   

Has it occurred to you how much time that wastes? Would you feel aggravated if you were on the receiving end? Do you think others see you this way? Do your family members see you this way?

If you don’t already practice it, did you know that asking open-ended questions will generate much more telling information than yes/no, true/false, and multiple choice questions? What’s a good example?

The best interview question to ask a job applicant is: “If I handed you a million dollars right now, what would you do with it?” Will you learn more from the answer to this question than from 20 questions about what’s on the resume? [Does a bear…?]

Two more examples? “What specific steps would you recommend to solve this problem our business is having?” [Not “WHY did it happen?”] Ask a constantly late employee to drop off a list with you on his/her way home that identifies “what 3 things she/he will do immediately to avoid being late in the future?” [Not WHY the person was late, which only produces excuses.]

Tailor your questions to the situation, the person or group you’re asking, and to generating the kind of answer that will be most productive for you to have. 

……….Visit Hal’s Guest Blog Posts………. 





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Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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