Friday, June 11, 2021

Lean Quote: Four Most Important Words In An Organization

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"What do you think?  —  Tom Peters

Use the Four Magic Words “What Do You Think?”: This is a favorite quote from management guru Tom Peters. Asking your employees for their ideas is the ultimate display of respect and empowers them to solve their own problems.

I started blogging in June of 2004, and the best part of it, frankly, is the wonderful comments that come from India at 1 a.m. or come from anywhere. And one morning when I logged on, I had gotten a lovely comment from a guy by the name of Dave Wheeler. And it went like this: “What are the four most important words in an organization?”

And the four words were: What. Do. You. Think.

And I thought about it and I thought, “My God. This is just bloody amazing.” What does What Do You Think mean? What Do You Think, when you say it to me, means: You are a person of value who has an opinion that I want to hear. And so, I’ve started taking it to its ultimate extreme and saying, “Okay, I want you to keep a little scorecard. Keep it in your pocket, wherever else. How many times” —and I do, everybody’s watching this— “how many times in the course of a day do you say—not five words, not three words, not 10 words—What Do You Think?”

You know, we hear this about empowerment and that about empowerment and this program and that program and this training course and that training course. I would argue, in the world of engaging people, nothing is better than the four words: What Do You Think? Try it. Count it. Measure yourself. See what happens.

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