December 12, 2012
After helping a client prepare for a major presentation in front of a large crowd at an industry meeting, we sat down to discuss how it went. She immediately turned to me and said, “How did I do? Is there anything I could have done better?”
I smiled but didn’t answer her. That’s because there are three questions I wanted her to think about, so she could determine her own lessons from the situation. Do you know what those three questions are and how they can make you better in business?
The 3 Questions That Will Make You Better in Business
- What went well?
- What didn’t go as well as expected?
- What would I do differently if I could have a “do-over”?
As a manager and career coach, I use these questions in many different situations with other people, such as after presentations, after they’ve completed a project or major task, after job interviews, after starting a new job…the list is almost endless.
For myself, I also use these questions after the same instances I ask them of others. In addition, I use the three questions after other events, such as meeting with a boss or editor, coaching/mentoring others, writing articles/blogs/books…again, the list is incredibly long. Why do I do this? Because of what I (and others) learn through searching for our own answers.
Why are the 3 Questions Important?
Seeking to understand the answers to the three questions leads to knowledge. With knowledge comes wisdom and with wisdom and experience you become better at business and in your career. Let’s look at each of the three questions:
- What went well? This question asks you to think about the reasons to give yourself or others a pat on the back for doing well. It highlights the specific things done well so you or others can remember those positive actions in the future.
- What didn’t go as well as expected? This question draws out areas for improvement. These are things within our control, but can also reveal areas that are outside our span of our control.
- What would I do differently if I could have a “do-over”? This question encourages self-learning because it asks the person to apply the answers to the first two questions in a way that will help them improve future performance.
Answering the three questions increases self-awareness and encourages self-learning. Our lives are filled with experiences – and the key to success is being able to learn from our experiences.
Photo credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art