With our business analytics customers in Calgary, Edmonton, and Western Canada we have noticed the difference in organizations that are really progressive with a great sense of employee morale. There is an innate organizational structure that really does start from the top.
When something goes wrong in a business – whether it’s poor sales results or a failed marketing project or any number of issues that need to be addressed;leaders can ask two questions and these questions will quickly impact the whole organization.
A leader of an organization can ask “What went wrong?” and they will get to the bottom of the issue and determine what went wrong and how to fix it. This is important for ensuring the issue doesn’t happen again. However as a first response to an issue, there is a better question that will change the direction of the organization.
Question # 2
If they choose to ask “Where do we go from here?” then they get immediate responses of ideas, suggestions and plans for how to make things better and still make sure the issue doesn’t reoccur.
The type of question is really important for company culture. Asking the first question results in an organization that is tuned to point fingers to determine where an issue occurred and why. This is an employee group that ends up covering their bases all of the time with responses and ideas that are safe and not progressive. They know that if something does go wrong a full investigation into the problem will occur long before any recovery plan. This may start with one issue but it grows into an organization where employees limit their ideas and actions to only what’s safe.
When people say company culture comes from the top down it really originates from this simple mentality shift. Are the leaders looking for how to fix things or are they looking for what went wrong? If they’re looking for what went wrong, that’s all people will be trying to deliver for the next project or initiative. Who can be blamed? How do I stay safe? But, if things go wrong as they will from time-to-time, and the leader is out there asking Where do we go from here? People will be working hard to correct things and keep going. This is the mentality that quickly filtrates throughout an entire organization.
There are very positive organizations and very negative ones, and ones that went from positive to negative. Why? Because of the direction that the leaders are looking. Empowering employees to look for new ideas, knowing they will be backed up and encouraged to make the best of a situation; they will try harder to bring out the best ideas and really grow an organization.
Be a true leader and start asking “Where do we go from here?”. If you start asking yourself this question every day it will become the kind of habit that will help you to go places and will make you the kind of leader that everyone wants to work for.