Meanderings from Jean's Desk....
Seek Fresh Eyes To Ask Better Questions
I often reference one of my favorite stories about Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. It reminds me that all of us need fresh eyes to see what we cannot see when we are stuck in the weeds of our everyday lives. For Michael Jordan, it was Phil Jackson’s view to how his taking every shot was creating an underdeveloped team around him and ultimately that team’s inability to win the NBA Championship Ring. This was totally out of Michael’s view, as he was asking himself, “How must I further improve my individual skills to accomplish what matters most to me?”
This past week a neighboring company visited our quarterly Back to Basics meeting. They were interested to view firsthand the companywide participation that we felt most significantly contributed to our success.
As always, the LMI Packaging team expressed their thoughts openly and we bounced ideas around for about two hours. As we wound down, a question was posed about the suggestion box we had in the break room. It had been a bone of contention for a variety of different reasons.
We began to process our frustrations with it trying to get at why it didn’t seem to be working. Was it because we didn’t care enough to put suggestions into it? Was the box in the wrong location? Was it because a few times something put into the box was not answered timely or properly? Was it because we had rules about how to use it that were prohibitive? When the session ended the spirit of the room felt a little flat to me and I wasn’t sure we had resolved anything.
Later as the meeting ended our guests were asked to share any insights they might have about what they had observed. The visiting company President stood up and after effusively congratulating us on the full expression and participation of the team he said there was one thing that felt very disconnected for him. In his words, “I watched you share ideas and suggestions all afternoon. You got at least 50 great ideas in the two hour meeting I observed and yet you are still trying to figure out why you are not getting any suggestions in a suggestion box?”
In that moment I got it. We were asking the wrong question. Ahhhhh, the beauty of fresh eyes! May we never stop seeking them. For hours, days, weeks and months, without knowing it we can ask the wrong questions and scratch our heads as Michael Jordan did wondering why our answers were not delivering the results we were after.
I now find myself wondering, “What different questions could we be asking in our world, businesses and lives that would drive better results? What systems and processes are we trying to improve that are no longer right to deliver what we are looking to deliver today? What better questions can we ask such that their answers inspire transformational results?”
Questions, comments for Jean?
If you have a question or comment, you can email Jean.