“Did I Do My Best To….”

I'm a huge Marshall Goldsmith admirer. I've been using this strategy every day for nearly four years. One of the techniques he employs to help individuals consistently improve is his set of questions, which are often asked, "Did I do my best to." I grade myself on roughly 22 questions each day. some straightforward, such "Did I try to consume healthful meals.... Some are more difficult, such as "Did I do my hardest to make a difference in someone's life.."

Over time, the questions have changed; at one point, there were 28 categories I questioned myself in; now, there are just 15, although the number is often in the low 20s. These straightforward inquiries assist me in refocusing on what matters most to me. I perform well at times and horribly at others. I'm not as concerned with receiving high marks as I am with how this exercise compels me to think back on my day and consider how I may do better.

Although everyone of us may use this method, it's something we should consider in our professional and organizational life. We need to construct a series of "Did I/We do our best to..?" questions to encourage reflection and work-style improvement, ideally not daily but at least monthly.

Things like:

  • Are we doing our best to be customer focused in every channel that we engage our customers?
  • Are we prepared for each interaction, achieving the most we can both for our customers and ourselves?
  • Are we doing the best to understand our customers–organizationally and individually? Do we understand what they face, how they feel, what they want to achieve…?
  • Are we doing our best in engaging them in conversations that are meaningful to the issues they face?
  • Are we we doing our best in focusing on the customers we can really help and not wasting time with those who are outside our ICP?
  • Are we doing our best to help our customers understand the consequences of not changing, of missing their goals?
  • Are we doing our best to help our customers make sense of the information they are looking at?
  • Are we doing our best to help our customers navigate their problem solving and buying processes?
  • Are we doing our best at helping incite our customers to change, in helping educate them on opportunities that enable them to transform, improve, learn and grow?
  • …..and there are more…..

Within our organizations, we need to be asking ourselves:

  • Are we doing our best to model the behaviors and attitudes we expect of everyone in the organization?
  • Are we doing our best to create a learning, open/growth mindset culture that promotes growth and improvement?
  • Are we doing our best to build and reinforce our purpose, culture, and values through our priorities, strategies, programs?
  • Are we doing our best to invite people who are aligned with our purpose and culture to join our organizations? Are we doing our best to grow and develop those people?
  • Are we doing our best to create an environment that promotes diversity, inclusivity, and equity? In the broadest sense of those words?
  • Are we doing our best to create a workplace where each person feel valued and that they can contribute to our collective goals?
  • Are we doing our best to equip our people to create value for customers, through selection, training, tools, programs, processes, and coaching?
  • Are we doing our best to demonstrate caring for our people in every interaction we have with them?
  • Are we doing our best to make a difference in the lives and careers of each person in our organization, and through them to our customers? ….and there are more….

Perhaps doing a collective evaluation of these concerns once a month, talking about a few areas where we might be lacking and what we could do to better, can have a significant influence on our businesses, our clients, our employees, and our own thinking.

This procedure has had a profound effect on me, and I believe we can modify it to promote organizational development.

Thanks to Dave Brock at Business 2 Community whose reporting provided the original basis for this story.

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