Two clarifying questions that make my heart sing

1. “What’s our goal here?”

At Lessonly, we sometimes forget to set clear goals for our projects and initiatives. We assume everyone is on the same page about why we are working on something, so we jump right to the planning stage. It’s important to plan—to account for things like to-dos, timelines, and divisions of labor—but it’s more important to get everyone on the same page about the goal.

The goal aligns and liberates us. It shows us what matters most and reminds us that our plan isn’t victory—it’s just one potential path to victory. So whenever I hear someone push their teammates to clarify the goal of a meeting or initiative, I know we are setting ourselves up to do better work.

Have you ever asked “What’s our goal here?” and received an answer that doesn’t feel like much of a goal? When this happens, keep asking “Can you help me understand why that matters?” until you get to the fundamental reason everybody was brought together. After all, if we don’t know why we are working on something, should we be doing it?

2. “Have we talked to anyone who has tried this before?”

There are a lot of people in this world. Chances are, the thing we are considering has been tried before, and we might know someone who knows someone who already gave it a go. The goal of this question is not to use someone else’s experience as a perfect proxy for ours; an initiative can fail with one team and succeed with another. The goal of this question is to be more informed about the experiences of others so we can apply any relevant learnings to our efforts.

I hope these clarifying questions help you like they help us.

—Max

 

This is Max’s note—a weekly message from Lessonly’s CEO about learning, leadership, and doing Better Work. Sign up below to subscribe via email. No spam, we promise!

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