Let questions lead you to effective action!

The next time you get stuck, have a complex problem, or can't see your way forward, try writing your way to clarity. It's been my experience that answers, effective action, and insights to my most challenging problems usually arise by simply writing about the problem, considering questions about the problem, and identifying potential solutions.

I begin with a question, and let evolving questions guide my clarity and path forward. For example:

  1. What is the best action to take with this underperforming executive?

  2. Have I made performance expectations clear to them?

  3. Have I given enough time for them to demonstrate their performance?

  4. Is there anything else going on that I'm discounting or unaware of impacting this person?

The language you use to speak about a problem matters, and the more precise, accurate, and objective you are in defining the problem the better able you are to think about it and

identify effective action to achieve a satisfactory outcome.

When writing about a problem and potential solutions don't produce a clear and effective path forward, I'll go for a walk, hike, or run. If those activities don't produce answers, it's usually because I lack critical information or don't understand the social/political landscape surrounding the problem. In this case, you have to ask: What do I need to know to get comfortable taking action or making a decision? If clarity can't be reached you have to ask yourself: do I have more risk by taking action or being passive at this point?

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