Think about the last time you went to a restaurant and ordered a salad, and the server asks you this simple question. “What type of salad dressing do you want?”

This is a pretty straightforward question. We have eaten a salad before, we know our preferences, right?

So when we ask for Honey Mustard, which before that moment, we hadn’t thought about, but now we really have a hankering for, and the server says, “We don’t have Honey Mustard.”  it’s understandable that now, we’re a bit disappointed.

The next question can further disappoint, “What’s your next choice?” To which you say, “I’ll have balsamic, then.” To which the server again responds, “We don’t have balsamic either.”

Double disappointment…

To which, being the smart person you are, you ask, “Well, what dressings DO you have?”  To which the server responds, “Ranch, Italian, or Blue Cheese.”

What if… The server had started with the options available? If he had simply asked, “Would you like Ranch, Italian, or Blue Cheese on your salad?”   We could have simply replied with the preference inside those options. No disappointment, just a choice.

How that applies to business.

When you ask your team what they want in regards to nearly anything, without options, two things are likely to happen.

  1. They suggest something you can not provide. This produces disappointment
  2. They have no idea what they want, or even what is available. This usually makes them feel unprepared and confused.

This is why, thinking through what you’re doing, learning this now, is a way to get more out of your exchanges, your team and provide higher results.

Here are the steps:

  1. Know what you are asking.
  2. Define 2-4 options – Note: More than 4 can be confusing especially if each one has elements to them.
  3. Be prepared to hone the options down until you get a decision.

When I work with clients, I’m known for asking them what they want and also for understanding that it’s a complicated question. So to help them, and you, a better question is, What do you want in THIS circumstance?

Let me know how it goes for you!

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