I’m doing a series of talks around the topic of coaching with a group of highly trained and esteemed experts. Two big challenges for them to break through are:
- Knowing too much
- Not finding out what they don’t know
This condition is highlighted in Bursting the CEO Bubble, an article in the March-April 2017 Issue of Harvard Business Review by Hal Gregersen.
Several things happen with the flow of information when you are perceived as an expert:
- People say little so that they do not appear ignorant
- People tell you little because they do not want to get into trouble or be wrong
- People reveal little because they do not want to be the bearer of negative news
- People say little because successful people and systems “must be right”
- Experts talk too much because they perceive that this is what they get paid for
- Experts talk too much and don’t pause for thought or ideas to form
- Experts talk too much instead of asking what is important to their audience
- Experts talk too much using complicated language.
Managers and leaders at all levels of organizations fall into the trap of assumptions that not hearing anything negative means that everything is working well. Not true.
Don’t be the last one to discover what was wrong with the delivery of your service or product by asking revealing questions aimed at uncovering what you don’t know.
These questions are:
- About things you have never asked
- About what you are wrong about
- Reveal what is broken
- Reveal what is important to your internal and external customers
- So that you receive information, not always transmitting it
Contact me if your managers need to learn how to keep the surprises to a minimum.