Here is a story shared by a good friend of mine:
When a Toyota executive asked employees to brainstorm “ways to increase their productivity”, all he got back were blank stares. When he rephrased his request as “ways to make their jobs easier”, he could barely keep up with the amount of suggestions.
This story raises many questions, which are:
1. Why did the leader get ‘blank stares’ when he asked people to find ways to increase productivity?
2. Why did people readily engage with enthusiasm when asked by their leader to find ways to make their job easier?
3. Was the leader asking the same question in two different ways?
4. Did the questions show a leader’s intention to his/her people? Is demonstration of intention vital for meaningful engagement to take place?
5. When do people choose to engage?
6. Is there a general lesson in this story that a leader can learn and consistently apply in his/her work to engage people?
7. Can the same lesson be learned by teachers to engage their students?
8. Would the lesson be useful for parents, spouses and partners?