The Ultimate Question to Transform Corporate Culture


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We regularly work with CEOs and senior leaders to help them build uplifting service cultures and improve service performance. Most leaders understand their roles and are eager to provide direction and support.

However, given their intensive schedules and responsibilities, it’s unreasonable to expect high-level leaders to know the details of all service improvement and culture-building initiatives. While they meet to review initiatives periodically, the Ultimate Question 1.0 can significantly leverage their time and commitment every day.

Ultimate Question 1.0: What is your team’s best idea to improve service today?

Why is this question so effective?

  • It’s simple, easy to remember and to ask.
  • It works throughout the organization: from leadership teams to frontline and across all departments.
  • It connects leaders with employees by demonstrating interest and desire to listen.
  • It creates conversations for ideas and possibilities. Conversations for action will naturally follow.
  • It does not ask for final answers. It asks for good ideas.
  • It drives teamwork. Even solo superstars should collaborate to answer this one.
  • It can be asked and be effective every day.
  • It is free of risk and fear.

Why focus on ideas, and not actions?

The first step to sustainable results is people thinking differently from the past, with good ideas and then actions towards the future. (If you haven’t seen it already, watch Ron’s video on Measuring What Matters.)

In a nutshell:
Good Ideas –> New Actions –> Stronger Culture –> Sustainable Results

Keys to Success and Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Don’t get hung up on the quality of ideas you hear. Encourage a volume of new ideas instead. Ask first. Listen second. Analyze for new actions third.
  • An internal communications team can support and reinforce this question, but should not drive the conversation by themselves. Asking this question and listening to answers is a good use of leader’s time.
  • Wikis, suggestion boxes and online portals deliver scale, but simple emails and hallway discussions will keep this question personal and engaging.

What do you think?

As you read this post, you may already have an opinion about whether your leaders will or will not ask this question, and whether it will get a response.

Give it a try!

Ultimate Question 1.0: What is your team’s best idea to improve service today?

Ask this question today. Send it to your leaders and ask them to try it, too. Observe the reactions of your team, and share what you see with us in the comments below.

PS: What is the Ultimate Question 2.0? “What new action will you take to improve your service today?”

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shyam Kumar
Client Engagement Manager at UP! Your Service Shyam Kumar works closely with organizations to ensure their success in building an uplifting service culture. He aligns and supports global service delivery in the areas of Leadership, Actionable Education and The 12 Building Blocks of Uplifting Service Culture. Shyam's provocative insights drive change while his friendly style engages high levels of participation throughout client organizations.


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