Learnings from the Management Consultant: If You Have a Question – Ask!

The fourth and final agreement in The Four Agreements, the book by Don Miguel Ruiz that spells out four agreements you make with yourself that, if followed, have a profound effect upon how you live your life and the influence other people have on you is “If you have a question – ask.”

When I find myself thinking, “I wonder why he did that”, or, “What did she mean when she said that,” I’m reminded of this agreement. Most people prefer to be understood rather interpreted incorrectly. Some of the questions I’ve asked clients over the years when I didn’t feel comfortable are:

Are we aligned on our goals?

Do we have the same vision of what it looks like when it’s done?

Have I met (or exceeded) your expectations?

Have I done well enough that you will do business with me in the future?

If not, what can I do to make it right?

I’ve found that asking for clarification can be the trigger for a conversation that leads to a deeper understanding, and just as importantly, prevents misunderstandings.

As a business owner it’s essential you understand how your customer perceives the value of the product you’re providing. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn if you just ask.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.

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