This question has frequently come to mind in recent weeks. Rather than being a lament, like “What else will happen today?” the question simply prompted more thoughtful reflection. On an episode of the Team Anywhere podcast, guest Gary Magenta suggests leaders ask this question – “What else?” – to connect more meaningfully with staff. And in a board meeting this week, I found myself considering “what else?” as we reviewed the organization’s progress toward its strategic goals.
Asking “What Else?” can be a powerful tool to elicit new insights.
Interestingly, the question works equally well when thinking about an individual or an organization, as my recent experience suggests. Certainly, those two words are powerful on their own:
Ask “What else?” and pause.
Let the question hang in the air for a minute. Then, listen carefully to the answer.
I’ve also found the question to be helpful as a lead in, allowing me to dig more deeply into the situation. Doing this also provides a context in which to listen to the answers, making it an even more powerful tool to elicit new insights.
For example, with staff or colleagues, perhaps reflect on these:
Is on your mind?
Allows you to think more clearly or work more effectively?
Gets in your way?
Can I do to help?
Will I say or do to be the strategic leader I want to be, right now?
The question is equally helpful for Board members or C-Suite executives, particularly as they frame decisions or navigate through uncertainty. In that case, consider these:
Can we do to sustain progress?
Will strengthen our position?
Should we invest – and where or how?
Might disrupt the plan?
Can we do or provide to delight our customers?
Shows our commitment to our mission and community?
“What else” are two little words that speak volumes. They demonstrate interest in people and a desire to get beyond standard replies. They prompt new thinking about where the organization is now and where it could be. Sometimes the best answers start with the simplest questions.