“An effective leader will ask questions instead of giving direct orders.” Dale Carnegie – author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
Are you uncomfortable with small talk? Do you hate social gatherings where you never know what to say or ask? If so, you will enjoy adding this question from Judy Douglass to your collection:
“How has God surprised you lately?”
Heads up! Whenever you ask this question, be prepared for the likelihood that, after they have answered, they will turn around and ask you the same question!
Another effective form of question is to simply listen for emotionally charged words and then repeat them with a questioning inflection in your voice. For example:
She/He says: “What a frustrating day!” You ask: “Frustrating?”
She/He says: “I am so exasperated!” You ask: “Exasperated?”
She/He says: “I am just going to quit!” You ask: “Quit?”
Navy Commander D. Michael Abrashoff used 3 questions to turn around the operations of the USS Benfold, one of the U.S. Navy’s most modern warships — from worst to first. Here they are:
“What do you like best about this ship?”
“What do you like least?”
“What would you change if you could?”
If you are in Development or Fundraising, have you ever experienced a potential donor’s hesitancy in response to your request for funds, and not know what to do next? Jerold Panas is the world’s leading consultant in philanthropy and the CEO of Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, the largest consulting firm in the world for advising nonprofit organizations on fundraising. He asks these 4 questions to determine the reason for hesitancy:
“Is it the institution?”
“Is it the project?”
“Is it the amount I asked for?”
“Is it the timing?”
Instead of guessing – Jerold asks! And with that knowledge the next step is almost always obvious.
Cheryl Bachelder’s book “Dare to Serve” asks,
“How well do you know the people who work for you?”
“Do you know the three or four events of their lives that have shaped who they are today?”
Would you like to know the four questions that one turnaround specialist uses to turn around organizations that are in trouble?
This specialist will spend whatever time is necessary interacting with employees and management and listening for the answers to these four questions. As soon as she knows the answers, she is then ready to meet with the Board of Directors to make her recommendations for turning that company around.
“Who needs to be let go?”
“What position needs to be filled?”
“What product or service needs to be discontinued?”
“What new product or service needs to be launched?”
It is really that simple! In any struggling organization, there is invariably someone who everyone knows should be shown the door, a position that everyone knows should be filled, a product or service that customers are no longer buying, and another product or service that would breathe new life into their lagging sales.
What do you think happens to company morale when management announces these four decisions? Employees move from hopeless to hopeful!
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