Sometimes we ask questions the wrong way or we ask the wrong questions … but either way … we can end up with CORRECT but WRONG answers. Great leaders and managers understand that information is key in making decisions and that questions, when asked properly, can be a powerful aid in soliciting this information.
American television and radio host, Larry King, once stated: "I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening." The problem I see with most people in management these days, is they have forgotten how to listen. It’s as if, now that they have power over people, they’ve decided there is only one way to do things, THEIR WAY. Yes, there is only one way to do things, the RIGHT WAY … and the only way to find that way…is to listen to the people who are involved in doing it every day.
The ability to communicate is the single most important skill determining your success in life. No matter where you are from, what you do, or what position you hold, you must communicate effectively if you want to succeed. The key word in that last sentence is “Effectively.” Research has demonstrated people only read about 20% of the text, therefore, 80% of information is being overlooked. Let me put it another way: 5 times as many people read ONLY the headline … that is why there is much more pressure surrounding the headline than many other parts of the content.
There is NO immunity to having problems. Successful and/or good people have problems, issues, and complications. “Bad” has no boundaries; bankruptcy, failure, mistakes, wrong decisions, setbacks, illness, poor choices, gaffes, errors, slip-ups, disappointments, and blunders can happen to anyone. They aren’t immune to any of these things and having a great attitude doesn’t protect them from having bad things happen to them, either; that “myth” is a total misnomer.
There are certain times in our business and personal lives that we have to make important decisions that will have a huge impact on our future. These “defining moments” or “critical choices” are the difference between clarity or confusion, misery or joy, success or failure. Several years ago, I was the recipient of some rather profound commentary on life. It didn’t come to me via some world-renowned scholar or teacher; it was casually presented to me by my son Tyler, who at the time was a 21-year-old college student. We were talking about his first few years away at college and I asked him how he goes about making important decisions. He thought for a moment and then said: (I am paraphrasing to the best of my memory) …