Category Archives: Asking Why?

So You Don’t Like Meetings, Then What?

I have spent my share of time in pointless meetings.

Does that mean that all meetings are bad?

No.

Does that mean that you should avoid all meetings?

No.

So you don’t like meetings? Fine. Go ahead. Avoid them.

But consider this before you do.

That stuff you were going to talk about? How are you going to share it instead?

What is your plan for facilitating the decision making process?

Do you have the tools, the skills, and the discipline to follow it through?

Continue reading So You Don’t Like Meetings, Then What?

Can You Learn from Your Own and Others Resistance?

What do you do when you feel offended by a comment or resist a point of view?

Have you ever paid attention to that feeling and asked why?

In her interview with  Tim Ferriss  on his podcast, Tim asks Whitney Cummings  what question she would ask of his audience.

Her first response is ‘Watch Comedy. It’s good for you.” (2:29:26)

Tim then says he will dig on that for a second. He asks what some new to comedy should pay attention to or asks themselves if they want to see another layer.

Whitney says “Look at what Offends you.” (2:30:00)

She continues “If something offends you; Watch Richard Pryor, watch Daniel Tosh, watch the most incendiary comedians, Bill Burr, maybe Louis CK …”.

“If something offends you, look inward. That’s a sign that there is something there. What offends someone says a lot about them.”

That question has stuck with me ever since.

Pay attention to that feeling of offence. That feeling is telling you something about yourself. About your own views and values. 

Similarly, someone else’s offence, or resistance, tells you something about them and what they value.

Continue reading Can You Learn from Your Own and Others Resistance?

The Exam Question: Home Ownership

He likes to ask his teams ‘What is the Exam Question?‘.

Muktesh Ghatak was my Project Manager on a Finance Transformation project in 2008 while I was at IBM Global Business Services.

When team meetings and other conversations would get mired in confusion and ambiguity he would ask us ‘What is the Exam Question?’.

It was a great question. Great at pulling you back from the detail. Great for re-orientating your perspective. Great at reminding you to get back to why you are here in the first place.

When you are stuck in the middle of it. When it is too confusing and ambiguous, remind yourself what you are trying to do.

What problem are you trying to solve?

Why are you here?

Where are you trying to get to?

That is the exam question. A question specific to the current situation and context.

Now keep that in mind and as I dive headfirst into a political and generational minefield.

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Show Early, Show Often

I once worked on a team supporting an internally developed and maintained application.

This application was the beating heart of the organisation. Every organisation has one of these.

You know the application at your company, the one that can’t be bought off the shelf? The one that reflects your company’s business model?

That one.

Continue reading Show Early, Show Often

When everything fees like a Root Cause

I am preparing a talk on Jobs-to-be-Done for the Brisbane Business Analysts Meetup in March.  For this particular talk, I am re-telling the Milkshake Story as told by Clayton Christensen to introduce the mental model of a Job to my fellow Business Analysts.

I know what it means to me and how I apply it to work. That is what I plan to share.

As I work on it the same thought keeps popping into my head.  How is this different to a Root Cause Analysis? Essentially how is this any different to asking a lot of why’s to get to the important point.

Continue reading When everything fees like a Root Cause