Monday, February 18, 2008

The Buck Stops Here

Does this mean that the deer stops here?
Does this mean that we run out of money?
Does this mean that the Bucks lost the National championship?

U.S. president Harry S. Truman had a sign with this inscription on his desk:
The Buck Stops Here. As the president he set a good example of leadership and responsibility. This is a phrase of integrity and true character.

Recently, I was reading a book called “The Question Behind The Question.”
John Miller addresses ways to eliminate blame, complaining and procrastination. In his book he explains how to practice personal accountability at work and in life.
I started my talk with questions. Let’s take a look at different questions.

“Why” questions make us victims of other people or of our circumstances.
For example:
Why is this happening to me?
Why isn’t anybody helping me?
Why doesn’t anybody do anything?
It’s ok for a frightened child to ask these kind of questions. Children are not yet aware of solutions and aren’t able to take responsibility.

“When” questions lead to procrastination.
For example:
When will the customer call me back?
When can I get the book?
When will they take care of the problem?
It seems that we have to wait. There is no other choice than doing it another time. Tomorrow sounds good.

“Who” questions put out blame and complain.
For example:
Who’s done it?
Who made the mistake?
Who forgot to put the papers back?

Our society is full of complaints. Everybody blames somebody. Anybody can sue anybody over anything at anytime. It seams that we are operating under a new “Golden Rule where we sue unto others before they have a chance to sue us.”

Remember the infamous lawsuit of the lady who spilled hot coffee on herself? She ordered coffee at the drive-though-window, put it in between her legs and drove off being in a hurry. Then she found a lawyer who talked her into suing McDonalds, because she got burns on her groins. I think they made about $2,000,000 on it. Obviously, they gave her a thin paper cup and the coffee was too hot. Didn’t she have any responsibility to treat the hot cup of coffee with care?
Or the many complains against drug companies and medical professionals?

Have you ever wondered why we get frustrated? “Why can’t I do this? Why is nobody doing anything?” By asking the wrong kind of question we set ourselves a trap of being a victim. By focusing on negative things, thoughts, emotions, and actions, we get frustrated.
The solution is to asked better questions.

Let’s look at some empowering questions:
How can I help? How can I make a difference?
What can I do to change the situation?
Empowering questions contain solutions. They focus on a positive outcome. They contain an “I” and an action.

For the longest time at my work I felt disgusted when I walked in the bathroom and there was paper all over the floor. Our bathrooms are used by workers as well as customers. Rather than getting frustrated and indignant, I now think, I am glad I came in here and can pick this up to make the bathroom look presentable again.
When I first started this job, I made effort to serve my coworkers by going out of my way to help others or just take out the trash. Even though I didn’t always like doing it, it made me feel good doing something extra.
Then I got sick. I had a sharp pain in my right shoulder. I couldn’t lift so well and was often depressed because I couldn’t give my 100%. After I got better I still tried to hold back because I had a good excuse. But I didn’t like myself for it. By being conscious of my environment and serving others whenever I can, I feel empowered and good about myself.

In conclusion, I have given you “The Question Behind the Question.”
Ask “what” and “how” with I and an action.

Actions bring learning and growth.
Actions lead to solutions.
Actions focus on a positive outcome.
Actions require courage.
Actions build confidence.
Actions allow positive expectation and get results.

We have choices in every situation. Even if we make a wrong choice, it will be a learning experience. Learning is about translating knowing what to do into doing that what we know.

It’s about growing and changing.

1 comment:

yusun said...

wow mom, that was really good! i wish i could have heard you give the talk. i never really thought about asking the right questions, empowering questions. i'll have to practice it more. :)