Improve Your Results
Using Question Power
1929, a senior vice president of Ford Motor Company took
Henry Ford to court. He told the
judge, “Mr. Ford is incompetent. He doesn’t have
the expertise to run a company the size of this one. He will
ruin the company if he is left in as the leader.”
The trial was long. Toward the end of the proceedings, the
judge asked Mr. Ford if he had any comments to make to wrap
up the defense.
Henry Ford took the stand and was sworn in. He turned to the
bailiff and asked if he could have a piece of chalk from the
black board that was across the room.
he got the chalk, he proceeded to draw side-by-side, two
long rows of one-inch in diameter
circles on the top of
the banister surrounding him in the witness box. He said these
circles represented the “call” buttons built in
to the top of his desk at the factory.
then told the judge and all present, “Some of the
things said about me may be true. I’m no longer the most
knowledgeable person within our company. There are many things
I can’t do in the process of building a car.”
not really my job, to get on the assembly line and put the
My job is to innovate. I need
to keep improving what we have, and the way we manufacture.”
Ford said, “If I need to
know more about hydraulics, I just push this button here.
And within a few minutes, a brilliant
young man who knows just about everything there is to know
about hydraulics, either calls me or comes to my office. I
then ask him the question I need answered, he gives me the
answer, and then he goes back to his job.”
I need to make an improvement or wonder about something to
do with steering, I push this
button here. Within just a
few minutes, the head of our steering department gets a hold
of me. I ask my question, and this expert who knows much more
about the complicated steering mechanisms we now use than I
do, gives me the information I need to make my decision.”
Mr. Ford continued this process of explaining what he did,
and his process of gathering information to make decisions.
summary, he told the judge, “That man is correct,
I don’t know everything - but I don’t need
to. I have intelligent people working for me who can give me
the information I need to make effective decisions, and run
The judge then dismissed the case of incompetency against
Mr. Ford. The judge then decreed that the executive who had
wrongly brought the charges against Ford, had to pay all lawyers
fees and court costs.
You Don’t Have To Know Everything
achieve great results, you don’t have to know everything.
You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to start
asking good questions, so you can get the appropriate information
in a timely manner.
you desired to be a better athlete, you just need to ask
good questions in the right places.
Asking one of your buddies
how to improve your tennis game, if they have never played,
is an error. They may be brilliant, but if they know nothing
about tennis, you’re wasting time.
Get Better Results Through
Using Questions Effectively
question you ask does six things. You can improve your ability
to get results by being more
conscious of what you
are asking. As you improve this skillset, you move faster and
easier through life’s puzzles you encounter.
1. All questions focus the human mind in one direction while
deleting other potential options of thought.
someone asks you, “What’s your favorite beach?” you
won’t start thinking about “light bulbs” (unless
of course you just love light bulbs, and there were cases of
free light bulbs scattered all over your favorite beach.)
Because the question of “favorite beach” sends
your brain searching through your mental the beach files, not
the light bulb files. Every question you ask gives your brain
a target direction. Make sure the target direction is one you
want, that is leading you toward the result you desire.
Questions presuppose positive or negative internal states
or potential outcomes.
of these questions could have to do with a problem of depression.
But, the resulting state
is different. Example: “Why
am I depressed?” Leads to thinking of what depresses
you, which often leads to being even more depressed. “What
can I do to be happier?” This leads you to think of things
that pick you up, and boost your mental state. One focuses
on the negative—which brings more negative. One focuses
on the positive—which helps to make you feel better.
The type of question asked will either open the communication
with others, or close it and make the interaction more brief.
is on two different levels. First, is the question a closed
question, i.e., “Do you like this?” which
elicits a yes or no answer, and closes the communication. Or
an open question, “What are your thoughts on how to improve
schools?” which opens communication and stimulates discussion.
the type of question asked will open or close the communication.
If you ask someone, “How could you have
been so unbelievably stupid?” you will close the communication
with the majority of people. I seriously doubt they will stand
there and give you a list of how come they were so unbelievably
that closed question with, “What are possible
things that could be done to assure that issue doesn’t
happen again?” It acknowledges there is a difficulty,
and opens communication to what can be done to overcome it
Questions either focus on the details of the situation or
open up the perspective to a bigger picture overview.
Asking, “What is one thing that made President Reagan
a good communicator?” is a very different question than, “What
are all of the verbal and nonverbal communication signals that
President Reagan used effectively, which made him an exceptional
all you need is to drill down to one specific detail. Other
times, the more information
you can pick up, the better
off you will be. If you only need the basics, don’t ask
big picture questions because you will waste time and energy.
Asking questions focuses the mind into either the past, present
get linked up to a time. “What did your team
do last week? What are they doing today? And, what will they
be working on next month?” These are pretty obvious links
to past, present and future.
a person says, “We blew it last week.” And
you said, “What happened?” you are still focused
in the past.
on the other hand you want to move forward into a present
action or future focus, when
they say, “We blew it last
week.” you ask a better question. “What could we
begin doing now, so that next week this doesn’t happen
again?” You bring the topic into a solution focused discussion
at present, and project into the future better possibilities.
Questions have the potential to open up creativity or lessen
question, “What the ____ is wrong with you?” will
kill communication just as effectively as, “What would
be a good way to ensure this doesn’t happen again?” opens
up creativity and discussion.
All Actions Start With Effective Questions
Pay attention to your questions. If you want to build ever
greater achievement and success, watch the questions you ask
yourself and others.
you can get an answer, you have to ask a question. Werner
Heisenberg, the founder of
Quantum Physics said, “Nature
will only reveal her secrets through the process of asking
questions.” He was 100% correct.
Pay attention to the focus of your questions. Apply these
key concepts and you can begin rapidly building greater effectiveness
and growing your success.
The Best Of Success To You,
never learn anything talking.
I only learn things when I
-- Lou Holtz
“Take the attitude of
a student — never
be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn
-- Og Mandino (1923-1996)
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