Posts tagged “Questions


Posted on November 19, 2016


Executive interviews highlights: CFO: The CEO is pretty low maintenance, he rarely asks for anything. CEO: Everything I’ve received from the CFO, I’ve had to request. Both true statements, but what a difference in perception! Are you getting what you need? How can I improve my service to you? What can we advance together? Can I be more proactive/directive/targeted? A little communication goes a long way. *

Perspectives in Words

Posted on June 7, 2014


Jacob of ERE fame neatly demonstrates how (one-sided) impressions of reality can be reflected in wording choice. Consider a summary of an introvert from an extrovert’s perspective: Introverts have an inward focus and aren’t usually the life of the party. They have a strong sense of self that can make them feel highly self-conscious around other people – making walking into a crowded room a little nerve-wracking. Introverts have a hard time being goofy in front of the camera and telling jokes to more than a couple of people at a time, but they can be extremely witty. They’re less “Larry, Curly, and Moe” and more Woody Allen. And Jacob’s inverse alternative: Extroverts have an outward focus and usually don’t read a lot. They have a weak sense…

Respond or React

Posted on April 6, 2014


People and organizations have a tendency to overreact to undesired outcomes. Sometimes this leads to remarkable results (see: ever-decreasing airline fatalities) and sometimes it has unintended consequences (see: close attention to children’s safety). Personally and professionally, we are often better served by increasing space between stimulus and response rather than quickly doing something simply for the sake of doing something. This is particularly true when performing a remedial action implies a performance deficiency existed. Numerous discussions start with, ‘We have a problem…’ and end with the opposite conclusion. Recognize that you can’t prevent every low-probability event, the issue may be perception and an ideal response may be doing nothing. *

The Do Nothing Option

Posted on March 9, 2014


The do nothing option is almost always available. One of my former bosses used it in response to dramatic proposals or perceived emergencies. He invariably let a situation evolve awhile before weighing in, and when he did respond his guidance was generally in line with the evolving direction, i.e., which way the wind was beginning to blow. What I originally took as his indecisiveness was in fact an ongoing strategy. Start with doing nothing. Sometimes the emergency would resolve itself, more information would arise through other channels or decisions would become more transparent. In this context, I learned to always present the do nothing option up front. If there were a number of possible options discussed, the first (or last) option considered was doing…

Framing the Solution

Posted on November 2, 2013


Once a client goes to RFP, the solution is already framed. Most of the subsequent conversations revolve around meeting the RFP requirements rather than why the request was written in the first place. It’s similar to framing a question through a hypothesis. The array of options narrows depending on how the questions or potential outcomes are structured. This concept applies across domains. Transforming a business is different than implementing a technology. In investing, avoiding losses may be different than seeking gains. Providing health care is different than maintaining health insurance. (This is commonly missed in the ongoing U.S. health care discussions – think of it as the difference between getting across town and possessing a vehicle with an extended warranty. There’s a big difference.). In childcare,…