Performance accelerates when you instruct incompetence and question expertise. Tell rookies what to do. They need to know how to hold the bat and grip the club. Challenge the thinking of experience with questions.
Give experienced talent opportunity to reflect on performance. They’re so busy delivering results they forget to improve the way they work.
Talented experts resist being told how to do things they ‘know’ how to do. But they respect questions designed to accelerate performance.
4 Questions that accelerate performance today:
Ask one of the following questions to three people today.
#1. What’s one thing you could do to communicate even better today?
Begin with an affirmation. “You’re already a great communicator.” Don’t fix problems. Make something good even better (Notice the word ‘even’ above.)
Show respect by writing down their response. You may need to follow up with, “And how would you do that?” to create action.
#2. What is your greatest contribution to the team?
Emphasize the last words in the question to create focus. Your last words could be, this project, future success, or your managers.
This challenging question may require reflection. Ask in the morning. Follow up in the afternoon. “I’m excited to hear your answer. Could you follow up with me at 3:00 today?”
#3. How can we better use your strengths to ________?
Don’t ask, “How can we better use your strengths?” It’s ambiguous. Provide context. What pressing issues are you facing?
How can we better use your strengths to…
- Prepare for our next project?
- Develop new talent?
- Improve morale?
- Increase engagement on our team?
- Meet our goal ahead of schedule?
#4. What could we stop doing?
One way to accelerate performance is to stop wasting energy on low-benefit activities. An option for this question is, “How are we making work harder than it needs to be?”
How would you rephrase the above questions?
What questions could you add to the above list?