Category Archives: Cultural Markers

The Power of the “Ask”

Challenging most, if not all of us, is an internal battle over how we often assume on others their motive or reasons rather than ask directly.  I suspect we tend to default to assumptions more commonly, which raises the question of why. What in us compels us to focus on imaginings rather than offered truth from the source? Our reasons are likely varied and usually justified in our minds. As leaders, however, I believe this key internal battle needs addressing towards a different approach for the sake of those we lead. Assuming leads to mistrust from others, while asking questions honors and elevates their perspective as valuable in the matter.

So, what goes into a good and healthy “ask”? First, our intention to listen towards understanding is a must. Going through the motions to feign value for their explanation creates greater mistrust when it becomes obvious their input didn’t matter in our subsequent actions.  If you find yourself not really interested in understanding, take some time to step back and reflect as to why. Only move forward with questioning when you can honestly work from that motivation.

Second, the specific kind of “ask” you offer is important. Clear, direct and honoring questions have a way of bringing what is valued to the forefront for both you who are asking and those who are responding. In most circumstances, an “ask” that is more open-ended gives greater opportunity for the responder to give their own thoughts without any type of “answer-prompting”. At a core relational level, asking for one’s perspective to help you understand them reflects your respect for them. Doing so consistently serves as connection points of trust-building that supports deepening relationship through time and circumstances. Impactful leaders understand this truth and make it a priority in their leadership culture.

The following are a few examples of “asks” (i.e. open-ended questions) that can help bring understanding…

  • “Can you help me understand your reaction just now to what I said?”
  • “What are your thoughts on the directions/choices I just presented?”
  • “Would you elaborate more about __________?”
  • “What am I missing in your explanation?”
  • “How do you see us moving forward?”
  • “How does the process work now?”
  • “What kind of challenges are you facing in this circumstance?”
  • “What is your most important priority to you with this and why?
  • “You used the term(s) ________________. Can you explain what that means to you?”
  • “You said you are frustrated – can you share with me what has caused this?”

As you relate to others, think about the times you assume on other’s motives or actions. Purpose to instead use the power of the “Ask”.  Doing so builds meaningful relationships of trust and honor with those you serve and further esteems the value of authentic honesty.

Mark Francis


Cultural Legacy

Each and every one of us are building an impactful history, or legacy, on a daily basis. Every decision we make, each conversation we take part in, the actions we repeat, and the values we hold to all contribute to the individual culture, or relational environment, we create for ourselves and those who walk the path with us. What lasting impact or mark on the world do I want to leave? If not by our design, the answer will lie in what we practice day in and day out, more specifically how others feel around us. Impactful, life-giving leaders who leave a legacy that lives on after them treasure those around them through mutual honor and respect. They live as a leader motivated by humble honor, willing to serve so that others can discover their own worth and make their unique contribution in their sphere of influence. Whatever our organizational description we are a part of, it serves in many ways as simply the backdrop for building cultural legacy that endures, calling those after us to a higher road. What marks your legacy?


The Trust Bridge

Imagine the strongest bridge you have traveled upon. Regardless of its size, the distance it spans, or the two areas it connects, building this connecting pathway took planning, time and foundational pillars sunk into deep bedrock. Building trust with others, especially with co-workers, takes many of the same qualities. Intentional effort to honor and value others, faithful consistency in word and action, and the time-tested fulfillment of spoken promises each provide the necessary materials for building an enduring and strong trust bridge with others. In many ways, on-going trust behaves more like a living thing, than something that is accomplished and finished. A virtue that needs faithful attention and intentional valuing, its presence inserts itself into every aspect of organizational life. Take a moment today to evaluate your trust bridges with those you walk with. Are you making each of them stronger and connecting with others in a secure way? Make 2016 the year of strengthening each of your trust bridges.


Needing Encouragement?

Like fresh water, encouragement is a daily drink for our souls that brings life to our hearts through vision and hope. Unfortunately for too many of us, we can go days without receiving it from those around us regardless of their role in our life. However each of us can change that. Encouragement can come in the spoken or written word and actions that affirm one’s journey, gifts or character. What it takes is a vision to look around and see others beyond yourself. But, to do so takes intent and purpose. Don’t know where to start? I would love to help. Let’s connect and explore it together. Who knows, you just might get encouraged along the way!


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