Asking Better Questions

Find yourself asking the same old questions?

  1. Why won’t people use the system?
  2. Why aren’t people using CRM?
  3. Why aren’t the executives supporting this initiative?
  4. Why aren’t people attending training?
  5. How do we get users to want to use the system?
  6. How do we get users to see this system is for them, not for IT?
  7. How do we get executives to buy in and back us on making people use CRM?
  8. What are we going to do about the people who aren’t using it?
  9. What stick are we going to have to use to get the sales team to enter information into the system? How can we hit him where it hurts?
  10. I wonder all the ways in which end users will embrace this technology?
  11.  I wonder when we will recognize the possibilities for improvement in our use of CRM?
  12. I am curious to find out from the sales team all the things that would make their jobs easier
  13. I wonder how CRM will breakdown silos between groups
  14. What is in it for me?
  15. What emotional needs can I help our end users meet through my communications?
  16. What do people need to know, hear, see or do to take ownership of CRM?
  17. Describe the new day in the life of ____user now that CRM is in place. What color is it? What shape is it? What size is it? What does it small like? If it were walking down the street toward you what would it sound like and how fast would it be moving?

Which kinds of questions are you asking? Which questions do you think get the best results? Which questions open up new and creative possibilities?

The first 4 questions are focused on the negative and start with “Why”.

“Why” will get you a “because…” answer and as humans we have to defended and  protect ourselves so these answers will tend to be progress stopping answers. I am not saying don’t use “Why” questions because understanding the why is important but if you choose why questions you can’t just stop there. In fact, asking why over and over until you get to the lowest common denominator can often be very helpful but why combined with a negative focus and only asked 1 time will stop you from making progress.

Let’s do an example of how to use layered “Why’s” in an effective way:

  • Q: Why aren’t users using the system?
  • A: Because the system sucks
  • Q: Why does the system suck?
  • A: Because it doesn’t do what I need it to do?
  • Q: Why doesn’t it do what you need it to do?
  • A: Because no one asked me what I needed it to do
  • Q: Why didn’t anyone ask you what it needed to do
  • A: Because no one around here cares about my opinion?
  • Q: Why does no one around here care about your opinion?
  • A: Because they all only care about the bottom line and not about doing what’s right for the customer

Your response could be something like: “Wow! Its clear you know what needs to be done to care for the customer and that is exactly what this system was designed for. Would you be willing to share with me what you think we could do to better serve the customer? Are there any ways you can leverage what’s existing while we take this feedback to the executives and figure out what it might take to implement your ideas? What could you be leveraging today to start preparing for this future enhancement you are requesting?”

Not only did you identify the issue here isn’t necessarily the CRM but you’ve identified this persons beliefs and perceptions of his co-workers as when as his core motivating need. He is motivated by status, the need to be better than others and stack rank. That is completely OK- now that you know, use it to engage him and he will become an advocate instead of an enemy!

“How” questions put a lot of pressure on YOU to have the answer and most of the time for you to take the action. Typically “How” questions are because you want someone else to do something, so, approach tactical questions with curiosity. I wonder how many ways we could come up with to get people to ____?

Questions 9 and 10 focus on the negative. This opens your RAS to see all the negative ways the question can be answered .The Law of Polarity states we need to have negative and positive so negative motivators aren’t bad. Would you be surprised to know that the negative (i.e. pain) is what will first inspire us to act? People are much quicker to move away from pain than towards pleasure. However, in order to maintain and sustain we need to identify the vision, the “towards motivator” that tells them what they will get and what their new day will look like. This is where question 14 and 17 can be very powerful!

TODAY’S CHANGE CHALLENGE: See if you can ask the same question in 3-5 different ways. Ask the question to different people in different ways and see if it varies your outcome.

I wonder how you will upgrade your questions throughout today and tomorrow?

Happy changing!





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