Workplace Action Is About Questions

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workplace action

Workplace Action Is About Questions

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How are things going? How is business, are you busy? At any venue where there is business networking, you may hear these questions. Is your workplace action about questions?

People expect to hear that you are busy. Of course, the often-unspoken question is, “Busy at doing what?”

Questions Drive Action

Whether you are considering individual contributions each day or if you are at the helm of a multimillion-dollar organization, being busy really isn’t the point. While it may represent a polite way to start a conversation, being successful is much more important.

Busy can be an excuse. We hear it when we ask for volunteers, when there are deadlines, or when there is grunge work to be done.

A better question may be, “How is your prioritization going?”

You can sit in a rocking chair and be rocking, you are busy rocking, but you aren’t going anywhere. Doing the most productive things may have more relevance.

Shaping Workplace Action

Communication shapes the mindset of the team. If the question seems to center around being busy then demonstrating busy becomes most important.

You can be busy typing an email, busy walking to visit someone in a different department, or just busy looking busy.

The EHS specialist, the Sales Manager, and the Controller typically aren’t so reactive to busy. They are reactive to a different set of data. The question may be, “How are the numbers?”

Of course, the focus then becomes about the numbers, not busy. “Can you do lunch today?” may be met with, “Not today, I’m crunching the numbers.”

Communication is driving the culture of the organization. From buzzwords to bulletin boards, what is communicated becomes the focus.

Be careful what questions you ask.


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 or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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