So today, we want to share with you 3 simple questions that you can ask that will engage people with the decision you’re considering and help foster alignment.
You’ll start to see a difference in engagement when you can teach people how to provide input that you can actually use and can take action on. These 3 simple questions will help you to create a culture where people know they can influence decisions—because you’re them teaching how they can genuinely make an impact.
These questions, when asked in this order, are very powerful.
- What are the benefits of this idea (proposal, plan, strategy, initiative, approach)?
- What are your concerns about this idea (proposal, plan, strategy, initiative, approach)?
- What suggestions do you have about this idea (proposal, plan, strategy, initiative, approach)?
When you start by asking for the benefits first, you change the focus from one of poking holes in a new idea or of saying nothing, to having them sit back and think in new ways about how the plan can work for them, for the team, for the organization, for the family, etc.
This question changes the conversation and actually shifts how they conceptualize their concerns and helps them align with you to create success when they offer their suggestions.
The next question asks for their concerns about the idea and not a judgment of it.
“That will never work!” is not helpful data—it’s a baseless judgment. “I’m concerned that we don’t have the resources to make this happen” is helpful data that could influence how you move forward. When you ask for concerns, you’re asking people to be thinking about what they are worried about and why.
Finally, by asking for suggestions, or asking “What did we miss?”, you can get a lot of input that you simply didn’t have access to before this moment.
Put the 3 questions together and this is where the magic happens! You’ll have input that will help you make a decision that’s fueled by the thinking of the people who will likely have to implement it or live with the consequences of it.
Remember, people are more apt to get behind a decision that they helped to make, and you’ve given them that opportunity by asking these 3 simple questions.
Benefits, Concerns, Suggestions—an amazing way to teach people how to give input in ways that you can use.
Next time you’re about to make a decision that will impact the people around you (your team, your organization, your family), ask them our 3 simple questions and get them engaged in its success.
You’ve got this!
Your Coaches and Allies at Carpenter Smith Consulting