Change the headline of the slide.

This method will not work.

I don’t agree with your proposal. 

How often do we hear leaders and colleagues make statements like this. Pretty common to pass judgement. Especially when you talk to senior leaders there is a strong tendency to pass judgements. This may be because the boss feels they know better, they have tried it before, they want to save time and they want to be efficient in decision making. All correct reasons.

However the “statement” method has many issues. It deflates the presenter, it make people not heard and it prevents them from bringing out their ideas in the future. It creates an unsafe space for discussion. 

When the statement method is maintained for a long time, it can lead to disaster in large organisations. A great example is the Challenger shuttle explosion which happened because in the conversation between NASA and their supplier Thiokol was concluded with statements that meant “it was safe / it was acceptable” when it was clearly not and there was not enough space for all sides to openly question and debate the conclusions of the report. The result – the space shuttle blew up along with all of it’s occupants.

Instead of the statement culture what should be we do ?

Bring in the Question culture ?

  • How can we do this ?
  • What can go wrong ?
  • What are the options ?
  • Have we tried it before ? what did we learn ?
  • What is your view ?
  • What is the consumer saying ?
  • Did we check it with any existing customers ?
  • What is the worst case scenario ?

Questions are powerful.

They bring out ideas. 

They bring out possibilities. 

They challenges assumptions. 

They allow for change. 

They create dialogue.

So ask yourself in every meeting – what powerful questions can I ask ? 

Its quite easy to frame questions using the key words of “why” and “how”. It’s also easy to remember a simple framework of asking questions about “past-learnings” and “future-options”. You should also think of the different people impacted by the decision – customers, suppliers, employees and ask “how” do they think about this decision. 

Ask yourself what is your QTS ration : Your Question to Statement Ratio. Target at least 2:1 ratio to achieve success in every conversation.

A high QTS is the secret of great leaders and great decisions.

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