Ask the right question to be a better boss, feels the academy award winning movie and TV producer, Brian Grazer. He doesn’t prefer telling people what to do. If we want to control the curiosity then asking questions is the best solution. That is how he manages it. Normally he has around 50 conversations in a day that includes him asking questions. According to Grazer, the best administrative device is asking questions.
Asking questions gets us the information. But it also creates the gap for people to raise any issues of which they are worried about and where a boss, or colleagues, may not know. Through questions, we get a varied story from people of which we weren’t expecting. He says through questions people tell us their decision of how they want to proceed.
He is of the view that in any business it’s important to know how to “make your case”. Like the movie business or the entertainment business, it can be anywhere. The important criterion laid down is that we should know the way to present the question of how, why, what, why not and, etc. He being a producer had to make his case for around hundreds of times in over seven years for his first big production, SPLASH. For survival in any field or industry, everyone should learn how to present the questions that they wish to do.
Making the case is not limited to business; we can ask questions about any person about their life, their plan, their worries, etc. These questions are not yes/no question. They are structured in such a way that when we answer them, we can say stories that can be both one-liners and the proper big ones.
Asking questions creates assurance amongst people with whom we work. For example, we are working on a movie that has some trouble. At that time asking the executive about their plan regarding the trouble is like asking them on what should be done and how to handle the problem.
It’s human nature if we order someone to do something there can be a rebel behavior seen in that person, but if we just tell them what needs to be done, they will surely do it. That’s the idea of how to ask questions. Being more subtle helps in getting the work done else people will find reasons to avoid the things which are supposed to be done.
While shooting for a movie there can be plenty of trouble relating to the expenses and budget, how we manage and convince the star to help is a big question.
Back in 1991, Grazer was shooting the movie Far and Away with Tom Cruise as the lead. Tom was at the top of his career, at 29 years of age he was already big in the industry. The movie, Far and away, was a challenging movie to get made. The movie got expensive and not being a commercial movie the studio told him to cut down the budget. He asked Tom to help after telling him that it can’t be a big budget movie. Tom understood and convinced other people to hold the line but still complete the movie. Tom set an example for everyone present there. Tom was actuated, and he helped people see that. It was a thing that Tom understood and did. He wasn’t told what to do. He appreciated that they came to him with the problem, treated him the same and also as a part of the answer. It is always sensible to ask people of their help rather than being directional and ordering what to do.
Questions are of such great importance that if used in a proper way can send the right message all along. We aren’t that person who just marches and give orders telling people what to do and what not to.
Asking Tom for his help in solving the problem and managing the whole movie is a strong message that ends in a question mark.
Being analytical at work isn’t a fashion. The idea is much stronger because being the head of a business, asking questions helps us in improving the culture of the company or the group.
It’s not about how friendly you are. The concern is about understanding the severity of the business world. The work is hard as there is never a correct answer.
Asking questions let us know what is happening in other people’s mind. Various modern problems have all types of answers, some being helpful, some not. To get all the possible outcomes, we need to ask questions and get the possible reactions.
Questions help the people to come up with ideas and also take a stand for them. It has a very clear message that we can listen to a variety of ideas and suggestions and get a solution for the issue.
There should be a similar kind of behavioral pattern between the boss and the worker in a workplace. While the boss asks questions about the work, how much time to devote to the company. Similarly, the people should ask the relevant questions to their bosses that they need to know to accomplish the tasks assigned to them.
Thus, the case should be that people at whatever level present should have that much of sense to ask questions as it helps in reducing the barriers in the workplace. It stops the idea that a higher post is only available to a person who has a good idea.
Imagine is as same as any other workplace. Meetings, miscommunication, brainstorming sessions, etc. happen. It’s not a perfect place, but the important thing here nobody is stopped from asking questions. Everybody asks questions, and nobody is scared to answer. He says people accept the advice or order given to them if they ask for it in the first place. They always will listen to the answer after asking the question.