Thursday, September 29, 2016

Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces: What is the most important question leaders should be asking employees?

Dear Readers, for the next several weeks, this CMMI Appraiser will be sharing excerpts from a conversation with Bill Fox on Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces™. Bill interviewed me about our innovative approach to creating forward-thinking workplaces. Here’s my response to Bill’s fourth question, “What is the most important question leaders should be asking employees?” Enjoy!

Hey, Jeff,

What is the most important question leaders should be asking employees? ~ Bill Fox, Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces

Hey, Bill,

“How can I help?” This is a really important question that we don't hear often enough. I try to remember to ask this question every day to at least one person. How can I help you succeed in what you're doing? How can I help your each your goal? If you look at the model we've developed where people have autonomy to grow their in own area of interest, the most important thing is to help them do that.

But I also sometimes get more specific with it, “Specifically, what I can do right now to help make you more successful?” I think this notion of servant leadership is over-hyped in our market, but I really believe in the principle. Teams want you to make decisions and be a strong leader, but they also want you to serve them and help make them successful.

In the book “We Were Soldiers Once . . .and Young” the protagonist (legendary Calvary Lt. Colonel Hal Moore famously promised his young troopers that, “When we go into battle, I will be the first to set foot on the field, and I will be the last to step off.” That’s been my model since I first read those words.

[Please check back soon for Question #5 from Bill Fox on Exploring Forward-thinking Workplaces: “What's the most important question employees should be asking management?”]

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Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations. Jeff has taught thousands of students in CMMI trainings and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

Visit for more information about running a successful CMMI program.

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