Do you find yourself in conversations where you dance around asking the questions you really need to ask?
Instead, you stop yourself short. As a result, information which can clarify context for decision making is left hanging in the air. Later on, you replay that conversation. You kick yourself for not having the courage and confidence to ask at least one more question. Once again, you acknowledge that the question you avoid asking is the key to personal and professional breakthroughs. Sometimes a single question becomes the fulcrum for current and future decision-making.
Consider the fate of that unasked question. It becomes water-cooler and email fodder. Alternatively, what is unasked results in incomplete design specifications and compromised project outcomes. Plus, unasked questions erode your and your team’s credibility with colleagues and clients. Current and future business and funding outcomes ride on those unasked questions. And then, how about those unasked questions left hanging during conversations with family and friends?
Tremendous value resides in asking the questions you really need to ask to get to where you really need to go: together.
Those unasked questions typically reside right before that traditional fifth and final Why (forcing everyone to commit to a single root cause which may not even be accurate). Unasked questions often are perceived as wasting current time. When you want to wrap up a meeting and eat lunch or leave work, who wants to address more questions? However, those unasked questions usually are the root causes of wasted future time in course corrections eating up non-billable hours and project profitability.
When speaking to, consulting with, or mentoring clients, I compare those unasked questions to the event horizon of a black hole. The event horizon is the area where all the stuff resides just before its final destination of being sucked down into the black, cosmic void. The event horizon is where great ideas, observations, and unasked questions orbit, waiting for you to ask them. Well?
You are in control of whether your unasked questions remain unasked. Waiting for a better time, or more courage and confidence, may not ever arrive. And then, all those resulting conversations, and actionable epiphanies, are lost forever. Are you willing to gamble with the cost of your avoidance or indecision?
Ultimately, this is your choice. Most of you probably identified at least three major personal and professional unasked questions as you read this post. So this week, why not go ahead and move one millimeter beyond what is holding you back. Ask one more question than you intend. That single question just may be the key which clarifies the context of that unresolved, constantly orbiting scenario in which you, your team, and your colleagues, are currently stuck. What is that question you need to ask? Consider that this particular question is your key to getting to where you really need to go: together.
Meet people where they are. Get to where you really need to go. Together. | One Millimeter Mindset | Professional Innovation | Cross Functional Leadership | Speaker, Consultant, Mentor |
How do you become more professionally visible, cross-functionally relevant, and strategically valuable to people who solve problems differently than you do? Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset ™ speaking, consulting, and mentoring programs catalyze people to collaborate by moving one purpose-driven one millimeter beyond the mindset holding you back from moving forward. Create and implement more strategically agile, enduring, and rewarding outcomes. Babette’s 3 Core Questions, 4 Change Agreements, and 5 Professional Whys catalyze everyone to ask the questions that get everyone to where they really need to go, together. Babette is a business-oriented STEM professional, qualitative Voice of the Customer facilitator, PMI-certified Wicked (Complex) Problem Solver, Duke Corporate Education licensed Strategic Agility practitioner, and Six Sigma Green Belt (Quality). She is a member of SHRM, PMI, and the National Speakers Association (NSA). All programs delivered virtually and/or in-person. Her playbook of cross-functional collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business? is available in digital format on Amazon.com.
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