What do you mean by that? At some point we all have a need to clarify – how someone describes their experience, the expression on someone’s face, or a suggestion that is made. Regardless of the circumstance, we strive for deeper understanding and it helps us when we do something very simple … ask the [specific] question.
Have you ever found yourself asking for clarity and as a result, you receive information that doesn’t get to the core of what you wanted to find out? Likely you’re falling prey to your own lack of precise questioning. In our business, we heavily depend on asking good questions to discover the root of an issue, the motivation behind a certain business decision or the true desires of a business owner. Very often we’ll find ourselves asking broad questions to get the conversation started – what are your pain points? What’s not working? What’s working well? What do you want to stop doing, start, and continue doing? We heavily rely on asking “why,” too. And why is that?
Without knowing what the purpose of a particular ‘what’ answer is, our jobs become infinitely harder when helping our clients affect meaningful change. We have to know what’s happening, why, and align on how we’re defining the issue or project to actually solve, create and impact.
So what works - broad or precise questioning? Recently, an article posted in my local newspaper and after the editor re-committed to featuring content that can often divide us, he posted a call to action to submit ideas for what is best. What does that look like?
Holy smokes! That’s what we constantly think about and assertively challenge at eQ… why?!?!? Because we can’t elevate performance if we don’t define what high performance looks like first. Because we cannot pursue our client’s growth goals if we don’t clarify how they define growth – is it headcount; is it market share; or is it employee professional growth i.e. the company’s investment in its people?
The moral to this story is ask questions – good questions. “Good” in this instance means, as a result of asking for the definition of a specific word, topic, issue, we learn more, connect deeper and find ourselves on our way to shifting the dialogue from a venting moment to an actionable discussion.
Imagine what you will learn if you had THIS conversation:
- You: “What are your greatest pain points?”
- Client: “The team is disengaged? They seem to have lost passion and I’ve send sales drop. I know the two are tied.”
- You: “Why do you think they lack passion?”
- Client: “I don’t know exactly but it has to do with their lack of engagement.”
- You: [spoiler alert – this is when the flood gates CAN open and that IS what you want] “And when you say engagement, what do you mean by that?”
- Client: “They show up late. They do not support one another to achieve company goals. Morale is suffering and they are less effective and committed to selling our product.”
We discuss regularly with our clients these issues as well as the alternative scenarios including: how high accountability, knowing, and syncing individual goals with company goals and fostering the ideal employee experience to drive the ideal client experience can immensely impact company performance. As humans, we’re all a little curious. Most of us want to be better than we were yesterday and fewer of us actively work to make it happen.
If you find yourself wanting clarity, aspiring to do more and are ready to do something about it, consider the power of precise questions. Define what IT is and go from there.