Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Why Did You Do That?

"Because I thought it would work"
"Because I’m an idiot!"
"Because you didn’t give me the tools I needed to do it differently!"

Defend, defend, defend. That’s what happens when we ask someone… “Why?” And, defending ourselves, or our actions, is good for a low-learning trip into the rat hole. So, what’s the option? How about any of these…

“What did you learn?”
“What options did you consider?
“How might you do it differently next time?”
“How’s that working for you?”

I’m with a CEO these days who is entrenched in the “why?” question.

“Why don’t you work harder?”
“Why didn’t you do it this way?”
“Why are you so emotional?”

In observing his behavior, my sense is that some of the “why?” questions come from the critical voices firing off in his own head. But, I’ll save that for another day.

Suffice it to say that “What?” and “How?” questions tend to lead us to a place of high-learning curiosity. And, that’s good for a trip out of the rat hole.