Many people want to make a statement. Shout it out, get it out, capture some attention. Have you ever considered that workplace questions are more powerful than statements?
It is common that people will make a statement hoping to solicit some response. There are times when it is the quest for deeper understanding of an important issue and times when it is just stirring the pot.
Statements and Problems
One trouble spot with statements is that they often tend to place or shift blame. This isn’t problem solving. It may represent an attempt to establish the problem identity but likely not problem solving.
The truck left early yesterday and some orders didn’t ship.
The meeting was supposed to start at 9:00 AM and no one is here.
Last month sales dropped 10 percent. Customers don’t like the new product line.
Statements have their purpose, but questions are typically more helpful for problem solving and root cause analysis.
What can we do to improve time coordination with our shipping vendor?
Is 9:00 AM a good time to hold the meeting, should it be 8:30 or 9:30 instead?
Have we had any feedback about our new product line?
Questions are often more powerful for learning and for teaching. Show and tell is sometimes important, but gaining buy-in and understanding of purpose happens through reflection. Reflection is prompted through inquiry.
Your brand makes promises about timing, quality, and effectiveness. The solopreneur does those things as an individual. The very small business with just a few people.
As headcount grows something is sometimes lost in the message. Telling the story may help. Asking about the moral of the story without telling prompts reflection. Reflection solidifies knowledge transfer.
The next time you want to make a statement consider how helpful it may be. Would a question be more powerful?
Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.