Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The next 5 minutes

There will be days, in most of our lives, that moving that next step seems impossible. Just plan for the next 5 minutes. that is all.. If that is too much go to 3 minutes. And, take one of those minutes to say, "I did it, I can do it again" ... things will get better, but they may get a lot worse before that too. My son says, it always ends up okay, so if it is not okay then it isn't the end.

I am sorry it is hard. That can be what is real for these 5 minutes, and maybe the next .. but don't take care of it except for by those minutes so maybe, just maybe it will get easier the next five... and remember you made it through the last.

The Power of a Question

Being in charge isn't so much about having all the answers: It is knowing the right questions and who (and how) to ask...

When an employee asks you a question, even if you know the answer off the top of your head, take the time to show them where to find the answer.. explore it with them. Those few minutes, will save hours in the long run and you can make certain, through the conversation of exploring, that the employee came to you with the question that really needed answering.There are times that the question being asked is not what will solve the real problem at hand.

My sister told me once that you have to let people go three questions deep to get to their real question. She said that the first two are just testing the water to see if they trust you not to make them feel stupid. She advised me to ask a follow up question that opens the door: why did you ask?.. does that cover it all? .. is the project hitting some bumps? etc.. I have found, that my sister is right.

When someone makes an error statement in their report presentation, you won't put them in the position of having to defend an inaccurate stance, if you ask a question rather than telling them they are wrong - give them a "this is your way out" question. For example, "You may not have had the latest figures - was the report given to you?" "Did you get a chance to talk to XX?" Did I let you see XX?" .. each question allows the person to back down from their mistake without a reflection on their work.

Most often people will take that opportunity. It saves you time from listening, arguing, and/or correcting; they go back and work on the information; and, they feel respected because they didn't feel belittled. With those people who don't back down, it becomes clear that not only do they not know when they're drowning, but they will sink a life preserver when it is thrown to them. They may not be the one you want sailing your boat...which is a good question to have answered.