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Ask Better Questions

Judith Ross on How to Ask Better Questions

Although providing employees with answers to their problems often may be the most efficient way to get things done, the short-term gain is overshadowed by long-term costs. By taking the expedient route, you impede direct reports’ development, cheat yourself of access to some potentially fresh and powerful ideas, and place an undue burden on your own shoulders. When faced with an employee’s problem, you can respond in a much more value-adding way: by asking the right questions, help her find the best solution herself. We aren’t talking about asking just any questions but, rather, employing questions that inspire people to think in new ways, expand their range of vision, and enable them to contribute more to the organization. Questions packing this kind of punch are usually open-ended — they’re not looking for a specific answer. Often beginning with “Why,” “How,” or “What do you think about…,” they are questions that set the stage for subordinates to discover their own solutions, increasing their competence, their confidence, and their ownership of results.

Personally, thanks to some excellent feedback over the years, I’ve subscribed to the 5WH line of questioning when trying to get information:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How

How to add a conference bridge and passcode to Contacts

Recently, I’ve had the need to:

  1. Track multiple conference bridge lines and appropriate leader or participant passcodes in my Contacts and be able to dial them easily when necessary
  2. Send out meeting/calendar invites that include the conference bridge line and appropriate leader or participant passcode and make it easier for someone else to dial in

With both situations, save the number and passcode as a single phone line entry but use a comma (,) to add a 2 second pause or a semi colon (;) for a hard pause – implying the next sequence of numbers won’t be dialed unless a key is pressed on the phone.

For example, if the number 800-123-4567,,,1234567# is saved as a contact or used in a meeting invite, and you attempt to dial the number on an iPhone, here’s what you’ll observe:

  1. 800-123-4567 number is dialed
  2. 6 second pause to allow for the conference greeting. (Each comma is a 2 second pause)
  3. Passcode 1234567 is entered followed by the # key

 

Sleep

So what this new research tells us, then, is that the one thing that all of you already knew about sleep, that even Galen understood about sleep, that it refreshes and clears the mind, may actually be a big part of what sleep is all about. See, you and I, we go to sleep every single night, but our brains, they never rest. While our body is still and our mind is off walking in dreams somewhere, the elegant machinery of the brain is quietly hard at work cleaning and maintaining this unimaginably complex machine. Like our housework, it’s a dirty and a thankless job, but it’s also important. In your house, if you stop cleaning your kitchen for a month, your home will become completely unlivable very quickly. But in the brain, the consequences of falling behind may be much greater than the embarrassment of dirty countertops, because when it comes to cleaning the brain, it is the very health and function of the mind and the body that’s at stake, which is why understanding these very basic housekeeping functions of the brain today may be critical for preventing and treating diseases of the mind tomorrow.

Source: One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

Hiring

Hire and promote first on the basis of integrity; second, motivation; third, capacity; fourth, understanding; fifth, knowledge; and last and least, experience. Without integrity, motivation is dangerous; without motivation, capacity is impotent; without capacity, understanding is limited; without understanding, knowledge is meaningless; without knowledge, experience is blind. Experience is easy to provide and quickly put to good use by people with all the other qualities.

Source: Dee Hock on Management

Retirement Savings Guidelines

Fidelity Investments has issued new savings guidelines suggesting that workers save at least eight times their final salary in order to meet basic income needs in retirement. In the set of age-based targets released Wednesday, Fidelity says employees should have the equivalent of their annual salary in savings by age 35 in order to reach the first benchmark en route to that goal.

Save the Equivalent Of By Age
1x your annual salary 35
2x your annual salary 40
4x your annual salary 50
5x your annual salary 55
8x your annual salary 67

Source: Fidelity issues new retirement savings guidelines and How much do you need to retire.