Token 61: Better questions, better answers

Why would you do that? For no reason and a million reasons. Where shall I begin? Why do they think that? Well, in part because of every meaningful relationship they’ve had since birth. Why aren’t we doing that? I could explain, or we could just start doing it. Why can’t we do this? Our failings…

Token 58: Ask dumb questions

Don’t underestimate the value of a dumb question asked at just the right time. Asking a dumb question is a sign of humility—that you know what you don’t know—and allows someone else to explain something that is fundamental to them (which is valuable to both of you). It also gives you a moment to gather…

Token 200: Your thoughts

I’ve been writing to you every day for more than half a year. Nearly 30,000 words of Tokens. I hope something in there was of value. What I’ve come to realize over the course of these 200 posts is that as much as I love writing, what I love even more is listening. I love…

Token 192: When it clicks

Elegant solutions are not like normal solutions. They don’t just solve problems. They are tangible things. They are visceral, even audible—it’s when you hear that “click” as everything falls into place, often in unexpected ways, and there is absolutely no question whether this is the right path forward. These solutions benefit you, both personally and…

Token 186: What to do with criticism

No matter how good we get at managing our emotions, most of us remain terrible at responding to criticism. Part of the problem is how rare it is to find radically candid, constructive criticism. Giving feedback well is an art that few have mastered. But even when we receive feedback that’s delivered in a reasoned,…

Token 179: Firmly held opinions

We love the comfort of our firmly held opinions. If you decide your boss is a bad listener, you now have a firmly held opinion that you can return to anytime he upsets you. “This might not have happened if he’d just listened to me in the first place!” And if you decide that you…

Token 158: Save your advice

There are times when your advice is sorely needed, but those times are not as frequent as you think. Learn to hold back when you feel advice beginning to emerge. Just pause for a moment, and try to ask a question instead. And make it a good question—one that starts with “what,” not “why.” If…

Token 143: Encourage curiosity

Cultivate a culture of curiosity. As a leader, be curious about those you support. Learn about them. When their performance dips, don’t jump directly to blame. When they do well, analyze their success for lessons that can be imparted to others. Be curious about them, but encourage their curiosity, too. Give them space and make…

Token 106: The generosity of a great question

Good questions lead to answers, and sometimes solutions. Great questions create a change in people. They result in deep learning, in both directions. Ask a good question, and you will learn something about the other person. Ask a great question, and they will learn something about themselves. A great question is a gift.

Token 76: True partners deserve your curiosity

Few things are more valuable to us in life and at work than our true partners. A partner, according to Merriam-Webster, is: one associated with another, especially in an action either of two persons who dance together one of two or more persons who play together in a game against an opposing side a person…