Face to Face Communications and Training Issue 512
January 2021
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Point of View

"Why, Why, Why?"

Why this, why that, why then, why now,
Why not, why, why, why, why?

(c) 1998 KIDiddles.com

Have you ever noticed the use of 'why' questions is selective? When someone is trying to make a point they throw up the 'why not?' as if to say "prove me wrong." When we aren't sure we agree with someone we offer a defensive "why?" to put them on the spot. Adults often see and utilize 'why' questions in calculated, manipulative and judgmental ways. Children-at least preteen aged-use 'why' in an appreciative manner; seeking truth, pattern, and reason from their observations.

Productive planning needs the why. Whether it's for your organization, family vacation, or retirement-ask all the 'why' questions possible in the most genuine truth seeking way possible. Often the 'why' is forgotten. Case in point: two years ago a county board's highway committee recommended that the county build a salt storage facility. The rationale: you can get better pricing on salt if we can get it at our convenience rather than during snow season. The committee also suggested that they negotiate with surrounding communities to contribute to the price of the building and get lower salt prices for themselves. Thus a 15,000 sq. ft. salt shed was built.

About a year ago I ran into the public works director of the largest town in the county (who opted out of the salt building). I asked him why his community wasn't a part of the salt storage consortium. He said, "in the near future liquid chemicals will replace salt. It's available now and some communities are using it. We're waiting for the cost to come down; we know there's virtually no storage requirements and it's just as effective as salt." I said, incredulously, "You mean to tell me they spent a $1 million dollars for a soon to be obsolete solution?" He grinned and replied, "Well at least they've got a great facility for storing equipment."

Nobody in the county asked the "why?" The committee came in with the solution instead of the question and because of that alternatives were never explored.

We have seen fabulous ideas fall flat because no one asked the 'why;' we've also witnessed incredibly ridiculous ideas come to fruition only to crash and burn because no one asked 'why.' Remember Clear Coke and Green Ketchup?



 Musings and Miscellany

"By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail."
- Benjamin Franklin

I was going to use the JFK quote "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining" for this musing, unfortunately this bit of wisdom is lost in today's economic and political environment. We are seeing more and more organizations wait until staff productivity is hampered by outdated technology before considering an upgrade. Or value engineering new construction to the point that is obsolete or too small before it's completed. Or move to provide 'just in time' training that just missed the mark. Or make the decision to start a Facebook presence just as Siri begins telling us...well...everything. You get the idea and I don't want to be negative Natasha but c'mon people, plan for what you don't know not what you do know.

Part of what makes Face to Face so successful is that we plan for what we don't know. Planning takes vision, vision casting, goals, and guts. It is essential in a GPS world.

There are many ways to plan for the future of your organization. You can do it 'in house' using internal resources; you can use a proven industry model; or you can hire a couple of great facilitators who are fun-loving, bright, energetic, and creative. You know, like us!

 

What we're reading...

Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other by: Sherry Turkle

MIT professor and leading expert in technology and social relationships, Sherry Turkle delivered a lecture at Aurora University on November 16. Pam and I were in the audience and Dr. Turkle kept us rapt for more than an hour.

Turkle shared stories, observations, and interpretations on our interactions with technology. One of the most startling observations we quickly confirmed from our own experiences, and it's this:

Our messages to one another are getting shorter and shorter; and we are, in fact, dumbing down our messages so that we get quicker responses.

Turkle notes we have exchanged conversation for mere connection. Not a personal connection-rather simply to be linked, friended, or followed. This has required less of us and in return we have given it less. In fact, Turkle said, "most of us will avoid telephone conversations all together." Most of us will go to great lengths to avoid talking to one another.

In Alone Together Turkle examines what technology is doing to our brains and more importantly what it is doing to our relationships.

 

FACE TO FACE BOOK UPDATE:

We are back at it! Researching, writing, and even developing a new workshop based on our book! Woot!

Please become a fan!

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F2F POINT OF VIEW is an interactive newsletter for business professionals who value commitment and passion in their professional and personal lives. If you found something of interest in this newsletter, please forward it (in its entirety, please) to a friend or colleague.

The focus of F2F POINT OF VIEW is to provide brief insights into the world of interpersonal business communication. It is edited by Gail Johnson, CEO of Face to Face Communications and Training. For more information, a complementary consultation, or initial training assessment email Gail or visit our website.