Six Honest Serving Men

“I had six honest serving men: (They taught me all I knew) Their names were Where and What and When and Why and How and Who.”

—Rudyard Kipling, 20th Century English Journalist & Poet

Begin a conversation with any of the Six Honest Serving Men from Kipling’s quote and you’re off to a great start in learning something new. You may even develop or nurture a new or existing relationship.

Powerful open-ended questions beginning with one of the Six Honest Serving Men open doors to new knowledge. They also demonstrate a genuine interest in others, which we all relish.

For today, I suggest you direct these probing and door-opening words toward yourself, to see what new worlds of discovery lie within.

EXERCISE:

Ask and answer some of your most important and pressing questions of the day. Then consider asking “What Else?” to see what you can learn by probing deeper than your surface answers.

Inspect what you expect

“People don’t do what you expect but what you inspect.”

—Louis V. Gerstner Jr., former CEO of IBM

Image of military inspection

Image from Flickr by Jason Pier in DC

How often in your personal or professional worlds do people let you down by making, then not fulfilling, their promises?

Unfulfilled expectations are key reasons for the upsets we experience on a daily basis.

A simple yet highly effective strategy to bolster the odds of promises being fulfilled is to add accountability and direct inspection to the agreements you reach with others.

The knowledge that you or others will actually be checking up and inspecting the efforts and accompanying results almost guarantees the job gets done.

EXERCISE:

Where in either your personal or professional worlds would an “inspect what you expect” strategy dramatically improve the percentage of promises kept, and the results you desire?

“Being entirely honest with…”

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.”

—Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and the father of psychoanalysis

Photo from imgkid.com

Photo from imgkid.com

Coaches are frequently asked, “What is the difference between coaching, counseling, and therapy?”

A thirty-second post would never do justice to this question. In today’s quote, Freud points to the value and usefulness of creating greater self-awareness, which is a component of each of the three supporting professions.

EXERCISE:

How would greater self-awareness and honesty serve you today?