One Question to Make Your Company Smarter | | The Edge

“What are we learning?”

Smart people still repeat mistakes … often.  Even smart people often fail to learn from experience. If you want to learn from all of its experiences, then adopt this simple question as a part of your regular dialogue.

How to Get the Best Results

If you are going to adopt this question, Tom Searcy suggests a few guidelines:

  • When to ask: just after the part of the conversation when people have let off steam. Some frustration is understandable when people are focusing on their own excitement, surprise or disappointment. Transfering the energy of the moment into behavioral reinforcement or change for the future, is the goal.
  • How to ask: Start with a quick summary of the circumstances–what you expected, where you are now, and how you got to this point.  Of course, because you are in the conversation, try to check your own emotional energy at the door, which is not easy. Searcy reminds us, “Facts are our friends, even when they are unfriendly.” Try to stick to the facts.
  • Who to ask: Each time, try to ask someone different to weigh in first. That’s a good way to make certain that, over time, everyone gets heard. Many small teams have some very vocal members, while others are quiet. However, some of the best insights may come from the quiet members–and to get their ideas means asking them first.
  • Start positive: The group will want to hear what you have to say. Go last and start first with the productive and positive lessons first. The risk inherent in this question is that it can become another way to point out faults and flaws. That will not produce a culture that embraces learning.
  • Skip the blame: Similarly, keep in mind that “What are we learning?” is a very different question than “Whose fault is it?” You are looking for insights that will change behaviours and increase the potential for success in the future. To do that, focus on the facts and the process, not the people.



via Thought Leadership: One Question to Make Your Company Smarter |; Author, speaker and consultant Tom Searcy is the foremost expert in large account sales.

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