The Basics Part 5: Ask Lots of Questions

Great leaders ask great questions.

Leaders with tremendous legacies inspire everyone to ask questions.

So often in organizations people lack the basic curiosity needed to find greatness.  They settle for answers that feed their agendas, their egos, or both.  They don’t dig for the answers that can help make their business better, but rather settle for answers that place everything in a positive light.  They hear phrases like “everything is okay” and they feel good, rather than wondering what it would take to make that answer “everything is great!”

So why does this matter?

It matters because Guests are looking for experiences that are consistently great every time.  They are looking for businesses which value their feedback, hear their concerns, share their praise, and put them at the center of everything.

But we can’t do that if we don’t listen to them and those who serve them.

So think about the questions you are asking and make sure that you are taking time each day to look deeper into your processes, execution, and your reputation.

Know How to Ask Questions:  When you ask questions, it can’t seem like an inquisition.  Nor can it seem like you are on a fact-finding mission to discover what has gone horribly wrong and assign blame.  We have reached a point in our culture where it seems like everyone is on a quest to make themselves look better by making others look worse.  That is sad, because it takes away from the organic nature of civilized discourse and has everyone perpetually playing the CYA game.  As a leader you have to embrace asking questions that feel like they are coming from a place of discovery and not an agenda to judge.  This will help you get the best information that can lead to a culture of openness and success.

Ask Lots of Questions:  One of the hallmarks of great leaders is that they question everything, but not necessarily in a adversarial way.  They are just flat out curious by nature and that could range from learning more about what a team member does and what challenges they might be facing to a spirited debate over the best way to accomplish a goal.

Great leaders have a friendly, inquisitive nature when it comes to the front line and they are hungry to learn from those who work with Guests directly.

They also have a tremendous BS meter that instinctively guides them to dig when they sense that there is more than they are being told.

Never Stop Learning:  It is easy once you have attained a leadership position to think that you have all the answers.  But resist that urge with passion and look to learn new things regularly.  That could be a new book, article, the daily news feeds, or just keeping your eyes open for inspiring ideas.  That also means that you have to be open for new ideas and knowledge to hit you at any time – not just during “working” hours.  You may see a great process or product while you are on vacation, at the dry cleaners, in the waiting room at the dentist office, or on the drive home.

Validate and Research Yourself:  Great leaders spot check for accuracy and absolutely never accept that “we’ve always done it this way” or “we tried that already and it flopped.”  They rule nothing out and dig for themselves to understand and validate.  They keep an open mind in all cases and are completely fine if the research bares out that their idea is a dud.  They understand that it comes down to providing a great experience for their teams and their Guests, so everything is on the table.

So keep in mind that being a service detective can help you deliver a winning environment for your teams and a great product or service for your Guests.

Dig beyond what you see on the surface to really understand everything that touches your Customers (both internal and external).

When you take the time to do that, it shows caring, a commitment to excellence, and that you are connected to your business.

Tony

Tony Johnson
-Guest Experience Leader

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Tony Johnson

I’m a 22 year veteran of delivering terrific Guest experiences. I believe in putting the Customer at the center of what we do everyday. . .Let’s face it, if we take great care of our Guests, the rest just falls into place.