Benefits, Concerns, Suggestions

One of the biggest complaints we hear from people who are passionate about leading others to success is that they have trouble getting them engaged and on board with important decisions. We’re not just talking about your work team or organization, we’re also talking about your family, your friends, a board you’re a member of, etc. 

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.

Remember, people are more likely to promote what they’ve helped to create.

Unfortunately, asking people “How’s it going?” doesn’t create engagement. Despite the best of intentions, this is where many leaders we’ve worked with go wrong. They understand theoretically that they’ll have greater success if they have an engaged staff, but most don’t know how to make that happen. 

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.

  1. What are the benefits of this idea (proposal, plan, strategy, initiative, approach)?
  2. What are your concerns about this idea (proposal, plan, strategy, initiative, approach)?
  3. What suggestions do you have about this idea (proposal, plan, strategy, initiative, approach)?
Yes, we really mean that you have to ask them in this order. Let us explain why the order is so important.

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

If you’re a new manager and would like 1:1 coaching to help you be a kick@ss leader with your team, we’d love to talk with you. Click here to contact us today.