JS Tip 227: From the Leadership Workshops: Be Curious

In an earlier tip (February 18th, 2011), we suggested you park on the far side of the plant and walk through the building on your way to your office. You meet people that way.

Okay. So what do you say when you meet those people? What do you talk about?  

People love to talk about their jobs or interests.

All they need is a prompt.

Be that prompt.

Be curious.

Ask questions: “Jesse, how long have you been working in engineering?” “Why did you want to work here?” “What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the shop?”

Listen: Respond to Jesse’s answers. Let’s say he answers, “The biggest change? Technology. Hands down. We didn’t have all this computer support back then. Heck, I can remember —back in ancient times—working with a slide rule.”

You ask, “Was that a good change? Did we lose anything with the new technology?”

Don’t take too long. Keep it short. You both have jobs to do. “I won’t keep you. Thank you for talking with me. I learned something today.” Smile, nod, and walk away.

A couple of things happen here.

One, you learn more about Jesse. You learn more about the engineering shop.

And two, Jesse sees you’re willing to talk with him. And with the others. Trust is built. Information flows more freely.

Let us know your concerns. We love this stuff. We really do.