Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

One question reaps valuable answers

Q: If you had the power to change just one thing in our organization, what might it be, and how would you go about it?

If you’re in a leadership position, this is a great question to ask of your employees during your one-on-ones. Or, you can ask it of a team through an email survey. You may want to provide the question before your meeting, or offer a target date to submit an answer to allow individuals the time to think it through, before answering.

Common themes among the answers you receive will offer great food for thought as you identify areas needing your attention or leadership.

If you’re an individual contributor, who hasn’t been asked this question, but who might be interested in answering it, I encourage you to take the initiative and do just that. Generally, concerns are well received from an employee, when he or she also provides a full recommendation for solution. —Especially if the employee is willing to participate in the solution.



  Alasdair wrote @

A question that must only be asked if you’re willing to act on the reply … failing to do so undermines the employer-employee relationship.

It’s a great theoretical question to pose, but can often lead to dissillusionment and dissatisfaction. Employees often want there opinions to be acted upon, not just listened to.

  donnarawadyblog wrote @

Thanks for your comment. I couldn’t agree more and appreciate your bringing the perspective. A few things that may help to consider before posing the question: If there is clearly a hot topic or current concern among employees that you’re aware of (i.e., lack of benefits, major change resistance, inability to raise compensation, etc.) it’s not a good time to be asking the question —especially, as you mention, if you’re not prepared to respond. However, if you’re truly looking to gauge what your employees see as areas needing attention, perhaps you ask the question after a bit of positioning. Before asking the question, be sure to state that although you may not be in a position to move on every concern in the short term, their input is valuable to you as you (genuinely) are looking to set priorities for your attention. Hope this helps. Donna

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: