Are You Asking The Right Type of Question?

Are you looking for answers? Not getting the answers you are looking for? Maybe it’s because you aren’t asking the right type of question. If you learn to ask the right type of questions and listen, really listen to the answers, chances are others will tell you everything you need to hear.

Worth Remembering ... “I listen to understand – not necessarily to agree” – Dale Carnegie

Depending on what you want to know, you have four basic types of questions that you can ask.

Open Ended Questions – If you are wanting to promote dialoge then you need to ask an open ended question. Ask a question that requires more than a one word answer from the other person. – Example: “What kind of options are you looking for?”

Closed Questions – When a one word answer will do. A closed question gives the person limited options as to how to respond to your question. – Example: “What colour?”

Clarifying Questions – A non-judgemental question when you want to verify what was said. – Example: “So if I heard you correctly you said …..”

Problem Solving Questions – Sakichi Toyoda, the Japanese Industrialist, inventor, and founder of Toyota Industries, developed the 5 Whys technique. If you are looking to solve a problem try asking “Why”until you discover what problem, or problems need to be solved before you get the desired results. Some solutions may be simple, while others may be more complex. You might uncover more problems then you think you had. – Example: “The shipment didn’t get delivered on time – Why?”

Worth Remembering … “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” – Robert McCloskey

Are you asking the right type of question?

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Establishing the T Word

Trust – a five letter word that makes all the difference when managing and leading others. Without trust you won’t be able to do either one very well. Trust doesn’t come automatically just because of the title you’ve been given. You must earn it one person at a time. Establishing trust between you and the people you work with and interact with is a 3-step process that I refer to as the 3 R’s – Rapport, Relationship and Respect. It’s a process that everyone must go through before you can establish trust.

Worth Remembering .. “In organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t get into regulating and coercing behaviours. They don’t need a policy for every mistake … people in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitment and creativity.” – Walter Wriston

Step One: Building Rapport. Find out something about the person you are working with other than the work that they do. Do they have hobbies? Are they married? Do they have children? What do they like doing in their spare time? You need to be able to carry on a conversation with them about a subject that they like. Idle chit-chat is important if you want to tear down any walls that may exist between you and them. Building rapport will help you do that.

Step Two: Developing Relationships. The second step in establishing trust is to develop a relationship. You can’t have a relationship with anyone unless you have built rapport first. Successful salespeople understand the value of building relationships with their clients. They understand that clients choose to do business with people they like. The same holds true for the people you work with. People like to work with people they like. If they like you – chances are they will follow you because no one wants to let a friend down.

Step Three: Establishing Respect. The third step to building trust is respect. You won’t respect anyone that you haven’t developed a relationship with first. However, keep in mind that respect is reciprocal – you can’t demand it. Respect is a two-way street. You have to give it to get it – and you have to give it first if you expect to get it back. You may not like or agree with everything that others have to say – but you need to respect the fact they they have a right to express their opinion. You can agree to respectfully disagree.

Worth Remembering … “I’m not upset that you lied to me. I’m upset because from now on I can’t believe you.” – Nietzsche

After respect comes the “T” word – trust. You’ll never trust anyone you don’t respect first. Sometimes managers and leaders need others to take a leap of faith. Sometimes managers and leaders don’t have all the answers and need others to trust them that they have their best interests in mind. If you have navigated the 3-step process successfully you will have established trust. Without it – you have nothing.

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com or contact Brian via email: brian@briansmithpld.com

What’s Your LOA?

What’s your LOA – Your Level of Authority? How far can you go to satisfy your customer’s need without having to get permission? How sure are you that someone higher up in the pecking order won’t override your decision and undermine your authority, making you look weak in front of your customers or staff? What level are your direct reports at and how much autonomy do they have to make decisions without your approval? You can call it delegation – you can call it empowerment – you can call it what ever you want to call it but you’ve got to get it off your plate and on to theirs.

General Levels of Authority.

Level One: Get the facts – I’ll decide

Level Two: Suggest alternatives – I’ll decide

Level Three: Recommend an alternative – I’ll decide

Level Four: Decide – wait for my approval

Level Five: Decide – act unless I say no

Level Six: Act – report results

Level Seven: Act – report if unsuccessful

Level Eight: Act – reporting not needed.

Your job is to give your people the opportunity to grow. What do you need to do to keep moving them up the ladder? The higher the level – the less time you’ll need to spend putting out fires. The higher the level – the more time you’ll have to do what managers and leaders should be doing. Everyone can be at different levels. It just depends on how comfortable you are that they would make the same decision you would have made. I like to move everyone up to level six – what about you?

Copyright (c) 2020. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Your Only Competitive Advantage

Product, price, promotion or place is no longer a competitive advantage. The only competitive advantage that you have left is the level of customer service you provide. To provide exceptional customer service is not that difficult. You only have to be better than your competition. Based on the results of a recent survey of 1281 consumers it doesn’t appear to be that big of a deal. 55% of the respondents said that they would shop elsewhere because of a “don’t care attitude”. 35% said being ignored by a sales person while they carried on a personal conversation on the sales floor or on the phone would be a good enough reason to leave. 58% of those surveyed sited rudeness as a reason to go elsewhere. 42% would go out of their way to do business where they got polite, respectful treatment. Let me repeat that again. 42% would go out of their way to do business where they got polite, respectful treatment. What level of customer service are you providing? More importantly, what lever of customer service is your sales team providing? Remember – to be exceptional in the eyes of the consumer you only have to be better than your competition.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com