The “Better” Question Changes Everything

Recurring issues reflect poor leadership.

How long will you tolerate pestering problems?

Courageous leaders believe we can do better.


Begin “better”:

  1. If you can’t make it better, find something you can.
  2. Talk about next time. “That was good, how can we do better next time?”
  3. Honor those who work hard but fall short, don’t belittle them.
  4. Understand why getting better matters. (Self-respect, customers, fulfilling your purpose.)
  5. See and own things that could be better.
  6. Believe things can be better. Belief enables beginnings.

Things stay the same because you’re afraid to try again.

One “better” question:

Respond to problems and complaints with, “What can we do to make it better?”

Leaders complain about lack of initiative, low quality, or too much sick time. What are you doing to make it better?

Five more “better” questions:

Leading with questions is better than leading by decree, as long as you pursue “better”.

  1. How much does it matter on a scale of 1 to 10?
  2. What’s in place to make it better?
  3. What hasn’t worked? Why didn’t it work? What might we try?
  4. What are successful organizations doing?
  5. What can we do today that moves us toward better?

Sometimes the greatest courage is the courage to ask.

Five ways to pursue “better”:

  1. Don’t allow people with clean hands to complain about people who are sweaty and dirty.
  2. Honor intolerance. Those who get better refuse to tolerate mediocrity.
  3. Embrace small behaviors that drive toward big solutions. Big solutions are fantasies pursued by confused, distracted leaders. Start small. Start now.
  4. Clap when people try and fail. Just don’t keep repeating it. Stop complaining about failure and learn from it.
  5. Develop your leadership. The issue is you not them. Read, take a class, get a coach.

The past is the future if you don’t pursue better today.

How can leaders create environments and organizations that believe in and practice getting better?

How can you do better?