Have you heard the infamous story of how NASA spent a huge amount of money trying to develop a pen that would work in weightlessness and the Russians have solved the problem for free by using a pencil?
Does this sort of unnecessary activity happen in your workplace? I bet it does!
In my experience, most organisations have so much wheel re-inventing going on that it is a wonder that anything gets ever done.
And the bigger the organization, the more ridiculous the behaviour!
If you looked closely, I’m sure you’d find lots of examples in your own organization.
But don’t waste your time trying to identify and root out such behaviours – you are much better off investing your time and energy into defining how to do things right.
Let me explain what I mean.
When things go wrong, the first question that people ask is ‘why?’. Why didn’t you finish the report? Why did we lose that client? Why did the structure cave in?
Obviously, this question is asked so that the root of the problem can be identified and preventative measures can be taken, but it is a totally wrong question to ask.
‘Why?’ leads to a lot of finger pointing, lies, misdirections and all manner of other time wasting activities.
Before you know it, you’re sidetracked, lost in excuses and complaints, bogged down in people’s quarrels and ego trips.
A far better question to ask is ‘How?’.
How can we make sure you finish your reports on time from now on? How can we prevent losing clients in the future? How can we make structures that never cave in?
Because that is what you ultimately want – to avoid the bullshit and get the results as quickly as humanly possible.
So don’t waste your time on retribution and punishments, don’t get engaged with people’s egos, don’t ever ask ‘Why?’ – it’s the long and the hard way to get the results you want.
Instead, catch the express by asking ‘How?’ and get there faster, easier and with minimal effort.
Try it for a few days in your own workplace with your colleagues, subordinates, suppliers, clients – everyone.
You will become a better boss, a better communicator and a better problem solver – I guarantee it!
And if you need some help with implementing this mentality across your organization – well, you know someone who is really, really good at it! 😉
(You know I was talking about me, right? So what are you waiting for? Contact me! Contact me now!)
Try this on your family members – it’ll do wonders for your relationships..
And by the way, first and foremost, apply this technique to yourself! Remember your past ‘mistakes’ are meant to guide you, not define you. So if you’re unhappy with something you’ve done or said in the past, don’t get stuck on the ‘why’ (blame, shame, guilt). Go directly to the ‘how’.