The Inquiry Method

Today I learned the power of “Why.”

As a leader of any kind there is a delicate balance between muscle and brains. Muscle when you have to push something along, for example. Brains when you want to learn the root cause of an issue and make changes, for example.

Frustration can build as the result of a lack of performance – either with yourself or the performance of someone on your team or in your life. Muscle might step in to try and force the situation to match up with your expectations. This is where I got stuck.

Finding out the “why” behind the differences between expectations and reality can be powerful. A sincere inquiry into the reasons behind an “unacceptable performance” gives you insight and knowledge so you can affect change.

I learned that if you’re upset with the performance or results of someone or something, the only way to effect change is to first find out why that result happened. Diagnose the issue to determine cause. “Ask why and dig deep until you hit the bone.” Once this is satisfied, you can now make informed decisions about next steps. Decide on processes, people, product, or whatever it takes to move away from error, poor performance, or disappointment.

Frustration or muscle may feel good for a moment, but you might not realize how much damage you actually did to your ability to affect change. The process of moving away from the thing you’re frustrated about has been slowed because emotions are in the way or feelings might be hurt. Now you have to repair a relationship and rebuild trust before you can actually make real changes for the better.

Finding out the real why behind something or someone is a simple method that, when used correctly, can accelerate you towards your goals, whatever they may be.

Thank you to NB.

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