Often people ask how to get more feedback and ideas from their co-workers. For example, how to get people to open up at meetings, how to get input in preparation for a planning session, how to have a good coaching session or performance review meetings, etc.
A while back I posted about a method called The Five Questions – you can read the post here. These questions will give you, your group, department, and your entire organization a broad range of information that can easily be distilled into your critical areas of focus. As a reminder, the Five Questions are:
- What’s working well?
- What could we do better, differently, or more of?
- What is preventing the improvements identified in question number two?
- If only one change can be made, what should it be?
- How can you help?
In that previous post we discussed the importance each of these questions can have in trouble-shooting a situation, any situation. Here are some ideas for applying the Five Questions to drive conversation:
- When you start working in a new position, use them with your boss, peers, direct reports, other departments, and anyone who is willing to give you feedback about your new department or tasks. Their answers will help you understand others’ perceptions so you can set your goals and manage your priorities.
- You can identify ways to increase customer satisfaction with external and internal customers. One caveat: you might delete question number five when conducting a focus group with external customers. But you should definitely include it with internal customers. You never know how much they might be willing to help.
- Create an employee survey using the questions to identify employees’ perceptions, likes, dislikes, and priorities for your work environment.
- Use the questions for employee coaching sessions or performance reviews.
- Send the questions to a planning group prior to a planning session. If meeting participants take the time to think about their responses prior to the session, planning meetings will be full of constructive ideas and collaborative solutions.
Give the Five Questions a try and be sure to share your progress with us!
After all, what have you got to lose?
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