I came across a very interesting concept today, reading over a book my coach shared with me earlier in the week. Talking about customer satisfaction, the author pointed out that we are much more likely to focus on the dissatisfied customer than we are on the satisfied ones. Say you get feedback that 94% of your customers are pretty happy with their experience with your company (or you, or me, for us one-person operations!) and 6% are not so happy.
Who do you focus on? Most of us naturally want to know why the 6% weren’t happy and we want to dig deeper and see what we can learn from them and how we can improve. But what could we learn from the 94%? There’s an interesting question….
The whole approach is about looking at what’s working and doing more of that instead of looking at what our problems are and where we can improve. It’s a simple concept –a subtle one but it got me thinking.
We’ve long been taught to learn from our mistakes.  Certainly there’s value in that – but what about learning from our successes. What can we learn from what we do right? How to do more of it and achieve greater success.
It starts with the questions we ask – of ourselves and of the organizations we’re part of. Try it and you might find that as you start focusing on what’s good about any situation you start to see it, and the part you play in it a bit differently.  Why do you suppose we’re more naturally programmed to find our own faults? Does that extend easily to how we see other people and what we expect from them?
Our perception creates our reality and I encourage you to really listen to the questions you ask. Or the judgments you make. If you’re looking at what doesn’t work, what you perceive as wrong, or incorrect, or disagreeable, ask yourself what’s right in the situation. Can you find anything? What benefit do you get from focusing on that, or thinking about that? Does it change the situation? Does it matter? It matters if it enables resolution or change. It matters if it just flat-out makes you feel better.
Sometimes the smallest shifts creates the biggest change.
Ask Better Questions
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10 thoughts on “Ask Better Questions

  • February 16, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Hey Amy,

    This is so true we, I think as humans we are naturally more self criticial of ourselves, but we have a lot to learn from all those successes we have made in life. Afterall success could be because of luck, hardwork, or applying a new strategy.

    It is always important to work out why something was a success and then look to re apply the formula again and again.

    Great Thoughts,
    Beth Hewitt
    .-= Beth ´s last blog ..The Princess and the Frog =-.

  • February 16, 2010 at 3:31 am

    Amy there is a concept out there that tells us to concentrate on improving our strengths and delegating our weaknesses. This post is right on the money! To take it one step further, some people become obsessive over the bad reviews, not seeing that 94% of their clients are satisfied. I think this is a great number and if this is the case, you are doing MANY things right. No need to get bent out of shape for the few people that may never be satisfied, it could be as simple as that.

    Thanks for sharing
    .-= Jose H. Caraballo´s last blog ..The Biggest Problem Credit Counseling Agencies (Part 1) =-.

  • February 16, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I agree with you and I think we tend to focus too often on the people that are unhappy, rather than learning from the ones who are. I don’t know why that is and I think it’s worth paying attention to! Amy

  • February 16, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Agreed. And I think success is often in the small details. So often something works and then we run off to try something different. You are right on about figuring it out and applying the formula again and again.

  • February 16, 2010 at 7:16 pm


    This totally falls in line with what I am learning in The 90 Challenge with John Fogg. It really is all about looking at what is right and asking a more powerful question like whats missing the presence of which would make a difference… instead of what`s wrong here! It causes the universe to deliver a solution of more of the problem! Thanks for sharing! By the way … what book are you reading?

    Live a Juicy Life!

    .-= Susan Davis´s last blog ..What Planet are YOU on? =-.

  • February 16, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    I couldn’t agree more ~ I’m a big fan of acknowledging what is working and celebrating our successes. It really boils down to the law of attraction ~ what we think about we bring about. So focusing on what isn’t working and you’re likely going to get more of what isn’t working….so focus on the good stuff to get more of the good stuff! 🙂

    Great post, Amy. Thanks!
    .-= Beth Allen´s last blog ..The Importance of Balance for Truly Radiant Health =-.

  • February 17, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Amy— fine post & points, thanks. (Btw, Susan Davis turned me on to this & you, so thanks Susan )

    Although I don’t have your permission to do this, I trust you’ll find it a contribution. It’s an article I wrote and the keystone of the work I’m doing. I’ll do a cut past of the beginning so folks know what it’s about and offer a PDF link to download if they’d like more AND… I’d be expecially excited to learn what you think & feel.
    What’s Wrong with the World?
    When people and their enterprises are constantly focused on “what’s
    wrong?” the creative energy required to sustain life is draining—like a
    battery running down and dying—and with it the freedom, growth and joy
    all human beings aspire to experience and express through authentically
    living their lives.

    “What’s wrong with the world?” is the question itself.

    Wherever we turn and look today, we see examples of the dissatisfaction
    and deterioration of the quality of life.

    We have created a predominantly
    “negative world” where gravity is not the
    only force pulling us down.

    In this negative world, The Second Law of Thermodynamics (the tendency
    for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert
    uniformity) rules… the Life Force (energy) of everything and everyone is
    running down, dissipating, diminishing, and dying. The Law of Attraction—
    Like Attracts Like— brings us even more negativity… more of what’s wrong
    and what is not working. It is a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral.

    What is required to change this “state of being” (for the planet and each
    one of ourselves) is a 180 degree shift of focus within our conscious,
    rational/ analytical minds from “What’s wrong…?” to asking “What’s
    right…?” and “What’s working…?” When we do, we will immediately move
    from draining energy to building our individual and collective creative

    Here’s the link for the rest:

    Thanks Amy.
    I appreciate you.

  • February 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    John, Thanks for this and I’m happy to post this and recommend people read the rest. It’s an important clarification on the Law of Attraction – the concept gets bandied about and people need to remember the ‘Like Attracts Like’ part of the Law. Understanding this necessitates a new way of thinking and a shift in focus. For most of us, that takes a calculated effort and some sustained energy and commitment over time.

    The wondrous thing is – if you can get there, even briefly, things shift very quickly and the whole phenomenon feeds off itself and some pretty amazing things start to happen. Paying attention is a great first step. Asking better questions. Showing up for ourselves in this way is a gift you can give yourself. Start now.

  • February 17, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Hey Susan! I’m reading about six books at the moment – that particular idea came out of a ‘Thin Book’ called Appreciative Inquiry. Glad it resonated with you -the more of us out there asking better questions….the better it gets.

  • February 20, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Wow you have a lot of great points in this post Amy! Learning from our successes – that is huge. Focus on what is working – you are absolutely right, it does just flat out make you feel better! Thanks for the reminder.
    .-= Jan Hill´s last blog ..Look Who’s Talking….. =-.

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