Template to guide your thinking

I had six honest serving men

They taught me all I knew

Their names were, What and Where and When

And How and Why and Who

This is a template to guide your thinking. It has a universal application to any task which requires your thinking and planning for your next action.

These six questions if used properly will give you the answer to virtually any problem you will encounter. The simplest way I know to teach about the skill of making good decisions is to provide an example.

This is the way I became a valuable trouble shooter for the company I worked for. Our job was to supply new, different and effective treatments for all manner of animal enterprises on farms. We had unique and valuable answers to improve the profit for any farmer who depended on his animals to make him some money.

The circumstances for my first meeting with the farmer were usually potentially very challenging because the farmer was very unhappy. His cows were sick and he had spent some money for what he thought was going to be an answer to his problem. Now that money is gone and the disease problem has gotten worse and his monetary losses were severe enough that his farm would be facing bankruptcy.

The initial conversation with him usually involved a severe tongue lashing from him and a description of how terrible he hated what we had done to him. And we were going to find out how expensive it was going to be for us. Now he was going to take us to court to recover his losses.

Obviously this was a time for quick thinking on my part.. My assignment was to find out what the problem was and to fix it.

My first reaction would set the tone for the rest of our meeting. So I needed to thank him for his opinion.

Proverbs 15 verse 1: A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

The first and most important thing to do is to be sure that he knows I heard his complaint so I attempt to recite back to him the problems he faces. This is a powerful way to get him involved in further explanation. I think the word What is a good one to get a positive train of thought started. The question, “What is the first symptom you see when these cows begin to have problems ?”

Where is the most common area or group where these conditions occur or does it matter.? Do you have the dry cows separated from the milking herd? When the cow is dried off where does she go?

How long will she stay in that group? How do know which cows are pregnant?

Why are you missing the cows in heat? Who makes the decisions about moving the cow from one group to another? How do you reward employees who notice things that need to be done and do them without waiting to be told to do that portion of the business?

What part of this enterprise give you the most pleasure while you are doing it? Which job is your least favorite?

How do you plan the various jobs so that there is room for enjoyment in that part of the business. ?

Notice that you attempt to keep the questions so they are not threatening. You are harvesting a Yes answer whenever you can because if you can a get a string of the yes answers it shows he is listening there is a distinct advantage to be learned form you approach. Even if some of the questions are similar and they keep getting the yes answer it becomes easier to lead them to the point where they have been ignoring an obvious answer. When you guide with your questions so they think from a different and better perspective you will affect changes. That may be the key to the beginning of the solution of the problem.

When you reach this point in your friendly learning session, he is beginning to spot things for himself. Then when you have decided a change needs to be made in management or diet or housing or traffic patterns or time spent in the catch pen where the cows don’t particularly like to be confined, he may look for areas where management can change efficiency and make the work more fun. When he gets the idea that some of the problems are his fault you are gong to make changes that will change the profit in the entire enterprise.

Sometimes you will need to use what more often than the other helping men. How is a beautiful way to lead into a change? Where and when often work together, the example there is where in the traffic pattern do the cows have the opportunity to drink? Milk is mostly all water so the opportunity to drink becomes a potential simple way to change the bottom line. Who is in charge of keeping the water tanks or troughs clean? How often is it done? Do the employees know why clean water is important?

How often do you explain the importance of good, clean water? It is the cheapest and most valuable part of the ration. Just adding more water troughs can make for more pounds of milk per cow per day.

These serving men do not charge extra for the power they give you in describing what you want. The more skilled you are in using the serving men the more fun your job will be. And both you and your clients will learn more together. It is a fun thing to do.

It can even help if you tell the client that

I had six honest serving men

They taught me all I knew

Their names were, What and Where and When

And How and Why and Who.

When you learn to use them yourself your decisions are more likely to be good.

One Response to “Template to guide your thinking”

  1. Hi Bob,
    This is where you will find comments from people who read your blog. As time goes on, it will be fun to see who finds your pages.

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