Are you a manager having lots of ideas always?
Do you share your ideas immediately with your team as it comes?
Can we go through a difficult situation that you and your team may be facing frequently?
You agreed to a set of quarterly goals and an action plan to achieve those goals with your team. You checked in with the team every week to evaluate the execution of the plan. During those evaluations, you got a feeling that people are deviating from the agreed action plan. But, you just let it go and didn’t address this feeling with your team immediately. At the end of the quarter, your team didn’t achieve the goals. In the quarterly goal evaluation meeting, you saw that the team deviated from the agreed action plan a lot. They executed some other actions. You and your team got into argument about the same. Your team members kept on saying that you are responsible for the deviation from the agreed action plan. This was their big comment – “You were bombarding the team with new ideas always to reach the goals and we executed those ideas”. You started wondering because you were not aware of this.
Does this happen in teams often?
Yes, of course. Many managers are not aware of this fact. If you are a manager bombarding your team with your ideas always, it may derail your team. Your team will lose focus. To make things worse, some managers won’t accept this fact and keeps defending it.
Why is your team getting derailed?
Imagine that you are the manager of a sales team. You agreed with the sales team to use a specific way of emailing in the coming quarter to book appointments. Your team started emailing. In the first two weeks, emailing didn’t result in your target number of appointments. As a manager, it’s normal that you begin to get worried. You start sending different ideas to the team to book more appointments. Your team gets confused about what idea to execute. They end up executing different ideas in an unstructured way. In the end, they don’t achieve their goals.
WHY and HOW gives different answers
WHY may give the answers to you like: We are getting replies for our first email but not getting appointments. Then you should ask, WHAT is the specific content of the reply? You may end up finding the root causes like:
- Your sales team is not sending enough emails
- Your sales team is not doing enough follow-ups
- Some wordings in the sales email needs to be changed
You need to keep on asking the RIGHT QUESTIONS till you find the root cause of the problem.
If you ask HOW can we book more appointments instead of WHY, it may lead to answers like – Let’s try another way of emailing, let’s try this and that. Hope you understood the difference between asking WHY and HOW.
The core message:
If you want to be great at getting results from the people you manage, your priority must be to “Help People To Focus”. When you get a strong tendency to send ideas to your team, save those ideas in a folder. Discuss those ideas in a quarterly meeting and agree on what to execute in the next quarter. Learn to ask WHY questions. Those questions will stimulate people’s thinking. Your people will start finding solutions to the problems by themselves instead of coming to you always. They will respect you for empowering them to solve the problems on their own.