Answering the ‘ What If? ‘ Question
The new guy in your department just proposed something to the team that, to you, is radically different than what you’re doing now. He asked:
‘What if we _____________(you fill in the blank)?’
Maybe it’s a new item on the food menu. Maybe a new way to market your services. Maybe a new technology that can potentially make your business more efficient and serve your customers better.
Then the questions come.
Some with a genuine interest.
Some with curiosity.
Some with disdain and cynicism.
People asking these questions are scared. They want to be certain this new thingamajig is going to work. They’re used to knowing (or pretending to know) all the answers.
They’re afraid of change.
The question of ‘ What If? ‘ inevitably comes up from someone. What if this bad thing happened? What if that bad thing happened? It’s usually followed by more uncertainty.
Soon, enough of these ‘ What If? ‘ questions are asked and enough negative answers are provided, that a once promising idea is rejected.
It’s rejected out of fear– of the unknown, of change, or hidden ideological agendas.
People are afraid of failing. And it’s killing their business.
When people are introduced to new ideas and potential opportunities, do they ask the ‘ What If? ‘ questions and focus on the negative or positive potential?
When they focus on the negative, there usually occurs:
- …a delay in making decisions
- …missed opportunities
- …no individual or business growth
- …a focus on fear (False Expectations Appearing Real)
What if we focused on the positive potential instead? There is usually…
- …an increased sense of passion and enthusiasm
- …a discovery of something great
- …a dose of encouragement and acceptance
- …a greater chance of opportunity
When you as the leader begin to focus on the positive opportunities, it empowers your employees; it begins to to change their mindset. But you can’t be afraid of failing.
Instead of asking ‘ What If ‘ and focusing on the negative potential, your employees will begin to think bigger. They’ll stretch their own goals. They’ll begin to embrace the change that is needed to succeed in today’s economy. Their fear of failure will slowly diminish as they begin to grow and you’ll see the company only grows as your employees grow.
How does your company approach the ‘What If?’ question? What opportunities might you be leaving on the table?