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How To Stop Getting Excuses From Your Team

23 November 2016

At the latest Strategic Growth Intensive one of my clients asked me a question about managing the activities of his team members. He said, “Whenever I ask my underperforming team members a question, they come back with excuses or ‘reasons’. What do I do?”

I asked him, “What do you ask them when they come up with these excuses?”

In answering my question, he learned why he was getting excuses from his team…

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When you ask “why”, generally you are asking for your team members to give you an excuse or reason.

When you ask the right sort of questions, ones that are set in the future or the present, you push your team members to think in the future or present rather than get stuck in explaining the past.

That way you can encourage your team to keep progressing and get results rather than keeping your business back by constantly going over reasons.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Today I will talk about one question that you should not be asking if you’re the business owner and the manager of your team.

You’re asking the wrong questions

In my full-day event, which is called the Strategic Growth Intensive, one of my clients, Julian, asked me a question. He said, “Shweta whenever I ask my team a question, they generally come back with excuses or reasons. What do I do?”

So I said, “Julian, what do you generally ask them, to which they respond with excuses?”

“Shweta I ask, why have you not done this? Or why have you not submitted this in time?”

“Julian stop.” Literally, that’s what I said. “Julian stop.” The question that Julian was asking was wrong. He was asking a question starting with ‘why’.

Now I want you to think about it – when you ask a child, “Why have you not done your homework?” or even you ask your team, “Why have you not done what I asked you to do?” generally speaking the response will be full of excuses or reasons.

So what are the right questions to ask?

Now you want to anchor your questions more in the future or present rather than the past. This is a very important distinction that I want you to make. Because as the owner, as the manager of the team, it is important that you get your team moving forward.

And therefore the questions like,

“So what needs to happen for us to get this job done?”

“How would you go about completing this task now?”

These are all forward-moving rather than doing a post mortem and asking why didn’t you do this?

So knowing what questions to ask can make a huge difference with yourself, with your team, and obviously in your business.

I hope that helps because just increasing awareness is a starting point.

If you would like to hear more about this please feel free to get in touch below.

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If you would like to have an obligation free discussion about selling your business, please email shweta@growthidea.co.uk. You can find more about our investment criterion on https://growthidea.co.uk/private-equity.

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