Yes, there ARE stupid questions. Reframe the question to stop wasting time and maximize efficiency.

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Cy Wakeman, reposted from: How to tell if you’re asking a stupid question

A common cliché I often hear leaders say is, “Feel free to speak up! Remember, there are no stupid questions.

I can think of a time when that statement was true. My second-grade teacher would remind us of this to build our confidence with adults, who at that time could be a bit scary to us. But in the workplace, everyone is an adult. There should be an expectation that everybody will participate and select questions wisely. In the workplace, there really are stupid questions.

Usually they begin with the question, “Do you have a minute?” followed by inquiries lacking in personal accountability such as, “Why do things keep changing?” or “Why doesn’t anyone tell me anything?” or “Who thought of this?

In my experience, these are really unhelpful and expensive questions and here’s why:

  • There is no answer to these questions—really.
  • Even if you could speculate an answer, it would add no value to the situation.
  • They all imply blame.
  • They fly in the face of personal accountability as a concept, let alone a core expectation.
  • They are focused on other people who are outside of the control of the employee.

To spend a single second of thought or action on such questions is a complete waste of resources, period.

Questions that begin with “Why,” “Who,” or “When” often fall into this category, especially if they concern human behaviors. The words “Why,” “Who,” or “When” are only valuable when beginning questions that seek information on a process or logistical detail of a plan. Human behavior is simply not rational, which means there are often no answers to these questions.

A single “stupid” question can commission hours of resources in the form of meetings, research, analysis and discussions that are a total waste of time, talent, and focus. In my research, almost 2.5 hours per day, per employee are wasted seeking an answer that doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter, or reinforces the erroneous belief that others are the source of our problems.

When you hear yourself or someone else asking one of these stupid questions, for the love of resources, move quickly to help steer their efforts into asking smarter questions that have actual answers, and that, if found, lead to actions that deliver results.

Help to re-write stupid questions. Here’s how:

  1. Change every “Why,” Who” or “When” to either a “How” or “What.”
  2. Follow with the words “can I.”
  3. End the question with some action word such as “do” or “help.”

Here’s what helpful and accountable questions sound like:

  • Why do things keep changing?” becomes “What can I do to get skilled up for change so I am un-phased by it?” or, “How can I help drive the change?” or even, “How can I quickly align with the change?”
  • Why doesn’t anyone tell me anything?” transforms into “What can I do to get the information I need?” or “How can I actively stay informed?”
  • Who thought of this?” will become “How can I best support this?” or the even more proactive, “How can I provide better information to my decision makers?”

These powerful, rewritten questions are filled with personal accountability. Plus, these smarter questions empower the employee and encourage the team’s energy toward results. As teams pull together to answer these questions, they’ll focus their energy on what matters.

As leaders, work with your employees to specifically create a list of possible answers to these smart questions. Teaching our teams to ask more accountable questions relieves the impossible burden on the leader to be the only problem solver. Leaders can move from over-managing and rushing in to fix problems to leading first by calling teams up to solve any problems that arise. The answers generate an instant list of simple instructions of where the employee can use their time and talent to create results and add value in spite of challenging circumstances.

Cy Wakeman is a Drama Researcher and the author of No Ego: How Leaders Can Cut the Cost of Workplace Drama, End Entitlement and Deliver Big Results.

Related Posts:

Cheers!

Quincy

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Advice for Male Managers Frightened by MeToo Movement: Mentor Women

 

MeeToo-MentorHer

Men who want to be on the right side of this issue shouldn’t avoid women. They should mentor them.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s

Men are finally beginning to be held accountable for sexual harassment. And (surprise, surprise) many of them aren’t reacting so well…

via Sheryl Sandberg has a plan for the 50% of male managers afraid to mentor women — Quartz

Related Links:

http://leanin.org/mentorher

DST: Thank the Golf Lobby for today’s extra hour

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image by Brandon Wall

..and thank blame the Barbecue, Baseball, and Candy Lobbies, too!

When daylight saving was first enacted, golf ball sales skyrocketed. One additional month of daylight saving was worth $200 million in added golf clubs sales and greens fees.

The barbecue industry said it was worth $100 million in additional sales of grills and charcoal briquettes.

Before Lighted stadiums made night games standard, the Baseball industry also exerted strong influence for Congress to enact Daylight Saving Time.

In 2005, the candy lobby, successfully lobbied for extending DST from six to eight months, thereby covering Halloween, reasoning that an extra hour of evening light would benefit the juvenile extortion racket (aka: ‘trick-or-treat’) thus positively impact sales.

sources,  Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, and QZ: Daylight Saving Time … by corporate lobbies, not farmers

Releated reads:

 

 

Arianna Huffington deletes her employees emails when on vacation (and you can too)

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Enjoying your vacation? How can you, when you have that nagging urge to check your email, and the added anxiety of returning to a mountain of email upon your return?

Arianna Huffington’s wellness company, Thrive Global, adopted a simple solution: During the time an employee is on vacation, new emails are deleted and the sender is urged to callback later.  

“Thank you for your email. I am out of the office … please email me again when I return as this email will be deleted

Their tool, Thrive Away, takes the pressure off employees to respond to the emails received during vacation. But you don’t need to work at Thrive to employ this strategy. Here are instructions on how to set up your own Delete-and-Reply Vacation AutoResponder using Outlook.

Thrive Delete AutoReply1

Creating a Delete-and-Reply Rule in Outlook

  1. Click File and select Automatic Replies.
  2. Check Send automatic replies.
  3. Check Only send during this time range and set vacation time.
  4. Leave Inside my organization field blank.
  5. Click Outside my organizatIon tab and enter a ‘.’
    (This field is required, but will be superseded by the rule template).
  6. Click Rules.
  7. Click Add Rules.
  8. Check Delete and Reply with, then click Template.
  9. Enter reply text (for example, “Sorry I’m not home right now, I’m walking on a spiderweb..in Ibizia. Your message has been shredded into less than nothingness. Please contact dmsnyder@moo.cow or re-email me when and if I return”).
  10. Close.
  11. Click OK, and click Yes to confirm ‘all senders’.
  12. OK. OK.

Cheers!

Related reading:

 

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Dude, Where’s My Car? Parking with Google Maps

Although I’ve not had the cinematic misfortune to see Ashton Kutcher utter this titular question, I have, occasionally, misplaced my car.

But no more; with the latest update to Google Maps  you can record where you parked your car, and when.

Click image for video.

To Record Your Parking Spot

  1. Open Google Maps.
  2. Press the Blue dot . A menu will appear.
  3. Select Save your parking.

Notifications remind you when it’s time to feed the meter, and a map directs you back to your vehicle.

Cheers!

hɔuᴉnb

Related posts:

Comments and questions are always welcome!

Use Google to Find Your Phone

Honey, have you seen my phone?

You don’t need a tracking device to locate your Android phone. Just log into your Google Play Store account and access the Android Manager.

You can have your phone send out a Here I am! ring, or lock the device with an “If found, please return..” message;

…to reunite you with your lost loved one.

To Locate your Android Phone

  1. Go to https://play.google.com.
    Note: you will need to be logged into your Google account.
  2. Click the settings googlesettingsgearicon and select Android Device Manager.
    Your phone’s location location-icon-png-14will appear highlighted.
  3. Select preferred option(s):
    a. Click Ring to have your phone ring.
    b. Enable and Select Lock to secure your phone.
    c. Click Erase to wipe your personal data.

Cheers!

hɔuᴉnb

Related posts:

Comments and questions are always welcome!

REPOST: How Much Daylight does Daylight Savings Time really save us?

groundhogWhile sleeping in this morning (with the extra hour I gained last night) I consider: 

If, at 2:00 AM I set my clock to 1:00 AM, what happens in 60 mins when 2:00 AM rolls back around?
While pondering this Groundhog's day-esque vicious cycle, I invite you to re-read this post about the (un)importance of Daylight Savings Time

This weekend, many of us once again resumed standard time. Wondering if it’s worth it? This Interactive chart will help you apply some personal perspective to the argument for or against Daylight Savings Time.

Click here to view DST Interactive Chart at Quartz.com

DST Interactive

Additional reading..

Cheers!

hɔuᴉnb