What is Going Well?

I attended a conference recently.  No speaking role, just attending.  I had an opportunity to connect with others and talk to them.  And if you haven’t guessed by now, I love to ask questions.

I started out the day with the typical, “how are things?” and received the typical replies.

“Times are hard, people are stressed, and we may have to downsize.”

Throughout the day, everyone’s and I mean everyone’s answer was just about the same.  Everyone was doing more with less, trying to manage people who are stressed and working hard, and facing the hardship of decreasing revenues.  I began to see that I was asking the wrong question.  

So at lunch, I sat with some folks and began to ask a different question.

“What is going well?”

[A period of stunned awkward silence.]

“That is a good question…”and then the answers started to flow.

My conversations turned a corner and became something else.  Something great.  I learned about great new teams that formed where they never did before.  I learned about creative ideas that were developing, being heard, and were implemented.  I heard story after story about people banding together and doing great things.

To think I would have missed all of this by asking the wrong question.  It is amazing what a difference asking the right question can make.  

Today I ask you.  What is going well?  I am looking forward to hearing your answer.

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