Kevin Eikenberry

Questions are like diamonds — they are extremely valuable and can be used in many different ways. While we mostly think of diamonds in jewelry, most people think of questions as a way to gain understanding or solve problems. But like diamonds, which have many industrial and other non-jewelry uses, questions have many other uses too. I want to use the remainder of the space I have here to talk about some uses we haven’t discussed much yet this month.

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I’ve long felt and taught that one of the best ways to learn better questioning skills was to watch great interviewers. In the past, I’ve often suggested Charlie Rose and Barbara Walters. Now Barbara’s mostly retired and Charlie’s gig has changed. Does that mean my advice has changed? Yes, a bit.

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Last week in this space, I wrote about the importance of seeing opportunity in your team and what you can do to help your team see opportunities as well. I ended by telling you that the way to create that opportunity view was by creating a definiteness of purpose across all members of your team. Then I promised I would say more about how to create that is week. If I could give you just one suggestion it would be to: Discuss organizational whys.

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Do you see “opportunity is nowhere?” Or do you see “opportunity is now here?” The letters are the same so both of them are “there” — and it depends on what you see as to what actions you might take next. You have the same situation as you survey your team today. What do you see? Do you see opportunity every way you look, or is there no opportunity in sight?

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If you have read a lot of my posts here or on my other blog, you have seen me write about the fact that too much emphasis can be placed on goal setting. Not because setting goals isn’t important, but because too many people exert effort to set goals, then feel like the job is done. This is like going to the starting line of a race, crouching down in the blocks and getting ready to run, but feeling like you don’t need to run the race because your work is already done.

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One of the commonalities among all highly creative people is that they believe they are creative. The belief itself, along with strategies, techniques, structures and purpose, allow our innate creativity to blossom.

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I’m taking a different approach this week. When I start teleseminars (like the ones at RemarkableLearning.com), I often begin with quotations from others to give greater perspective. I’ve decided to take that approach here on persuasion, following up my last post. I’ll share the quotation and then share the relevance to us as leaders.

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I thought today I would give a short answer to a question I get asked regularly. It gets asked in a variety of forms, but it all comes down to something like this … I have a person on my team that won’t budge. They don’t seem to care — about anything — how do I persuade or influence them? Here are some thoughts in the form of an answer to this common question.

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They definitely are not. Persuasion is not manipulation. If a connection between those words crosses your mind, it is time to eradicate it — and I’ve got about 300 words in this space to try to make that happen.

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Last week, I asked you to walk in the shoes of your Customers for a minute — and closed by asking you four questions with easy answers … but without helping you get to those answers. This week, I will close the loop by helping you lead in a way that creates closer, stronger relationships between your team and your Customers (whether they are internal or external). What we are really talking about is moving from having Customers to creating partnerships. Here are four ways to move in that important (and profitable) direction.

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