Questions Proactive People Ask
You’re doomed if you can’t change direction. A turbulent world requires you to be light on your feet. But you can’t get anywhere when you constantly change direction.
Constant reacting eventually makes you feel powerless.
We give away control because it feels safe.
Questions proactive people ask:
#1. Questions about roots or fruits:
- What is the root of this issue?
- What is the fruit of this issue?
- What comes to mind when we focus on roots instead of fruits?
You’re solving symptoms when the same issue keeps kicking you in the pants.
#2. Questions about pattern recognition:
The pattern is the problem when you keep solving the same problem.
- How many times have we faced this situation in the last 30 days?
- What ways of thinking/behaving propagate this situation?
- What else might we try?
When the same issues keep coming back, current solutions aren’t working.
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” Jessie Porter
#3. Questions about fire or smoke:
When the house is on fire get the heck out. Most of the time the house is not on fire, even though there’s lots of smoke.
If you can show up tomorrow morning and do your work, the house is not on fire.
- What’s the short-term win?
- What’s the medium-term win? This issue will be a win in 30 days if ….
- How did yesterday’s solution cause today’s problem?
The hardest problem to see is the one you caused yourself.
#4. Questions to ask before doing anything.
- What happens if we press forward without changing anything?
- What’s within our control? Trying to control the uncontrollable leads to disappointment.
- Who should take action now?
- How much of this situation is about people? When an issue is about people, everything else is smoke.
How might people be proactive in a reactive world?
This is so spot on, as always. I would love for you to expand on your last comment: “When an issue is about people, everything else is smoke.” I feel this alone could be its on blog day.
The Arkansas Traveler (a children’s song) put it best:
Oh, once upon a time in Arkansas,
An old man sat in his little cabin door
And fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear,
A jolly old tune that he played by ear.
It was raining hard, but the fiddler didn’t care,
He sawed away at the popular air,
Tho’ his rooftree leaked like a waterfall,
That didn’t seem to bother the man at all.
A traveler was riding by that day,
And stopped to hear him a-practicing away;
The cabin was a-float and his feet were wet,
But still the old man didn’t seem to fret.
So the stranger said “Now the way it seems to me,”
You’d better mend your roof,” said he.
But the old man said as he played away,
“I couldn’t mend it now, it’s a rainy day.”
The traveler replied, “That’s all quite true,
But this, I think, is the thing to do;
Get busy on a day that is fair and bright,
Then patch the old roof till it’s good and tight.”
But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel,
And tapped the ground with his leathery heel.
“Get along,” said he, “for you give me a pain;
My cabin never leaks when it doesn’t rain.”
Great message again today. I’ve often used the phrase in my head “If nothing changes…nothing changes.” If we want the future to change, we have to make change in the current patterns.
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