I was recently reading through some of the newsletters and things that hit my mailbox and read the following in something from David Marquet, the author of Turn This Ship Around and spiritual force behind Intent-Based Leadership, “the next time someone comes to you with an idea, stop what you are doing, look them in the eyes and say “tell me more…” or “how might we…” “
I got excited when I read that and what struck me is how powerful that simple thinking is and how you can engage people so effectively by simply being interested in their thoughts.
Another reason I got excited had to do with my own philosophy on engaging others. You see, I get asked periodically from managers how to effectively engage employees and my response is that they should spend time in three activities, Connecting, Involving, and Collaborating. From there, I am usually met with a look of “that sounds complicated” so I try and simplify things by telling them that all they have to do is ask three questions, 12 words in total.
- Connect by asking, “What’s important to you?”
- Involve by asking, “What do you think?”
- Collaborate by asking, “How can I help?”
How you might use this in the real world could go something like this. Imagine a team meeting where you have a new project or challenge to talk about. Explain the situation and then ask different team members what’s important to them with regard to the issue. Throw out a potential solution and ask them what they think, and after you decide on some course of action, ask them how you can help. And to be most effective, after you ask each question, spend time opening your ears and listening…really listening…taking a genuine interest in their thinking.
If you employ this regularly, watch employee engagement grow as team members take more ownership, experience increased customer satisfaction as customers are served better, and enjoy more long-term profitability as happy customers come back again and again, all with 12 words and 2 ears.
Connect, Involve, and Collaborate with your employees and see more success. Not hard, not complicated. Try it.