By Dr Marshall Goldsmith and Dr Peter Chee
E + R = O formula
(Event + Response = Outcome)
Dr Robert Resnick
Getting better results in work and life boils down to changing the thoughts, actions, and habits we have for the better. People trip themselves up in their efforts to grow when they are stuck with old mindsets and actions which do not bring the results they want. When they are unable to grow, they make excuses and blame others.
This cycle repeats itself mirroring the observation of Albert Einstein who is credited with saying that “The deﬁnition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” People who hope their friends, family, colleagues, or even bosses to change to suit their desires have a futile hope in getting better results.
It is only when a decision is made to continuously develop that the victories come. If you want a life of getting better results, then different approaches have to be made. One approach that has worked for us and our clients is the Daily Active Question (DAQ) process which shifts the focus away from external sources to you. This process echoes the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world.” By changing positively, you position yourself to generate wins for exponential growth as you focus on the thoughts, actions, and habits to take you to where you want to go.
We have shared the DAQ with thousands of executives in our work as executive coaches through the years. The process is based on the importance of self-reﬂection as a daily practice to become more successful. This activity is effective because asking active questions instead of passive questions, changes the focus of the answers to empowers people to make changes needed and get better results in their efforts.
For example, if someone asks, “Do I have good relationships at work?”, the question is in the passive voice. These passive questions describe a static condition. They cause people to think of what is being done to them rather than what they can do for themselves.
Another passive question is, “Do I have good relationships at work?” If the answer is yes, then people would think about how they like to work with someone. If the answer is no, they would think about what is wrong about the other person. The answers for both questions focuses on the environment and on external factors.
Now, change the question to an active voice, such as “Did I do my best to build positive relationships at work?” This question challenges people to reﬂect on their actions. It puts the responsibility for their relationships at work squarely on themselves. If positive relationships at work are important to you and you ask yourself this question every day, you would start doing your best to build positive relationships.
The good thing about beginning these questions with “Did I do my best to…” is that it is almost impossible to blame another person for failure. No one can be responsible for “Did I do my best to…” but you. It forces people to confront how they live their values every day. If they believe in what they value, people would put it on the list and check themselves everyday as they strive in getting better results at work and life.
The following is an example of questions Marshall asks himself everyday to check on his growth in work and in life. The questions always begins with, “Did I do my best to …?”
Test it out. Write the questions that you should ask yourself every day. Even the process of writing questions will help you better understand your own values and how you live or don’t live them on a daily basis. If you really have courage, have someone listen to your answers every day. You might be as amazed at the results as we have been!
Use the reframing questions below to help you reframe so you are able to get the results you want. You can use the tool provided to ﬁll in your answers for your reference and record.
Your answers to the above questions would help you identify your daily active questions for ﬁlling up the following DAQ tool.