Ask the Question – If You Were Me What Would You Do? When I was the CEO of Pinnacle I often asked the question “If you were me what would you do?” I would get a lot of valuable input and good ideas from that question. The answers I received often provided much needed perspective on me — and also good perspective on where others were. With all the transition issues associated with selling the business, merging two companies together and rebuilding a group, I put that question on the shelf for a while. I recently started using it again. Asking “if you were me what would you do” works well in both your personal and professional life.
Seeking to understand then to be understood is one of Steven Covey’s golden rules and is simply a good thing to practice.
When asking the question there are a few factors that can cause it not to work:
- Insecurity Factor – If you are simply insecure, you won’t get or hear feedback.
- Identity Factor – If you don’t know who you are and what you stand for.
- Intimidation Factor – If you have an intimidating personality, it will be hard for others to open up to you.
- Indifference Factor – This is the big one: if you care, but don’t care enough because you are afraid you might find an answer that will cause you to have to rework a solution you put your heart into; it simply won’t work.
I used to struggle with the last one because one needs to be humble and admit that your project or idea wasn’t as good as you thought it was, which is very hard to do sometimes. Getting perspective is important especially when you are trying to communicate vision and provide good leadership. The same things apply at home; a fact I overlooked for years. I had Daddy/Daughter dates with my three daughters individually every month as often as I could. Early in their life it was breakfast with donuts at the grocery store. As they grew up it was chicken wings and a pop, beer for me. There was always a nugget of information that I would learn every time that gave me perspective on my daughters and how my wife and I could potentially help.
Asking, “if you were me what would you do” applies to spouses, kids, co-workers, and friends. It’s a good rhythm to get into because it makes you more aware, increases your emotional intelligence factor and shows a humble part of you that is often missing in too many people today. Talking through perspectives builds trust and understanding of why certain things are done and why you do the things you do. Plus having a few people to cover your blind spots and seeking a better understanding of yourself will only make you a better you.
TAKE THESE ACTIONS NOW
- Asks the question — “If you were me, what would you do?”
- At Work
- At Home
- Journal what you hear that is of interest, and what you agree and disagree.
- Be careful not to judge yourself or others before you analyze and digest your thoughts.
- Don’t react. Be sure you process the information before responding or adjusting actions.
- Always remind yourself what you stand for and why. If you don’t know, then dig in and find out.
- If you have kids, or others you can influence, schedule a monthly “date night”. Be consistent with it and remember it may take an hour or two to get five minutes of the information you need to assist or get perspective. Put the quantity of time in to get the quality of information you need.
- Listen to Andy Stanley’s Leadership Podcast on this topic here – “The Art of Inviting Feedback”
If you have any questions or thoughts, please leave me a comment. Good Luck!