Our parents get annoyed with questions, and then later in life, other people in authority, teachers, bosses, and mates resist being questioned, and want agreement instead.
Now fast forward to being productive on the job, in communication, and relationships. I notice that too often, when we talk about solutions, it centers on getting to a quick answer, instead of looking into the unarguable facts.
You can step up your performance and how you’re seen in your network of influence if you don’t give in to the misguided response of giving reasons when you’re not producing results instead of the facts.
Reasons quickly devolve into excuses that are not fulfilling because they don’t inform new action.
Unarguable means that you have explored a subject, so you’re left with what’s beyond question or not in doubt.
Here are three keys to presenting the unarguable facts:
1) OWN WHAT’S HAPPENING
A sales leader told me that the reason her sales were lower than three months ago was that people weren’t as interested in her product. I asked what her evidence was, and she couldn’t answer. It was an excuse that she prepared to answer the question about what happened. When I asked her, what were the unarguable facts, she told me that the location where she was working was under construction, and fewer people were approaching her kiosk.
That was unarguable because it could be measured. When I asked what she did to counter the unarguable facts of remodeling and numbers of customers walking by, she was thoughtful. As soon as she owned it, she realized that she could have sent one of her staff to the populated aisles of the location with samples, and invited people over to her kiosk to buy.
She didn’t realize that she could consider that customers not coming to her kiosk could be altered, nor think about whom she could partner with for coaching.
Don’t go to sleep on your successes, and don’t give excuses for your failures. When you’re successful, you want to discover what made it work so you can replicate it, and train others to do the same. As soon as you own every result you produce, you see a different world. You ask the question, how did this (success or failure) happen? What did I do or not do that caused this result just the way it is? I remind everyone, as often as possible, that this notion of owning results is not conceit or blame. It’s a way of seeing, a context, that expands your ability to investigate any outcome.
When you own what happens (for your sales’ goal or your life), you can find the unarguable facts, determine what’s possible, or get coaching on what you can do now.
2) DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS
Accepting how something is showing up is key to noticing the unarguable fact of the matter. Acceptance, however, is not a passive state. You can determine what is “unarguable” by asking questions. When you’re not getting the results you want, it’s usually a “stop waiting for conditions to change and start asking questions” situation. Here are some questions you can ask: What’s going on that’s different from before if you were previously ahead of the game? What’s happening that is measurable? Given what’s happening, what can you do? Who can you call for help to determine what’s possible?
Halt any resignation in yourself that says nothing can change. Then the actions you can take to remedy the situation will become clear.
Asking questions prevents jumping to conclusions. This key is powerful in unlocking the facts and allowing discovery to take place. You may be surprised at what you find out.
3) RE-ENGAGE YOUR LEARNING MIND
To discover the unarguable facts, you often have to uncover what’s unknown. The best way I’ve found to do exactly that is to approach any situation with a healthy learning mind! If you operate from the idea that you don’t know everything (consider that’s an unarguable fact!), you stay curious to find what’s often hidden by the need to DEXIFY (defend, explain, and justify).
Staying curious is my definition of a learning mind. You probably think you’re open to learning, but in practice, you may find that you’re only open to what you already know, even if it’s a reason why you can’t do anything about current conditions.
Excuses masquerade as knowledge. When you think you know, you stop learning. Instead, continue to develop your learning ability. It will allow you to see beyond the edges of what’s known to what’s possible.
Use these three practices to upend any automatic excuses to the question of what happened, and instead, pause and look for the unarguable facts. Then see how that impacts your ability to produce results.
May your day be both peaceful and productive.
Paulette Sun Davis