Answer me this…

A guest article I published earlier today, “Winning at Working:Busy About,” by Nan Russell contains some questions I think we should all ask ourselves on a regular recurring basis. They are essential to continuous performance improvement.

Nan Russell writes for an audience of employees who want to improve themselves in relation to their jobs. But often her articles apply to not only employees but also to people in small businesses, to management in corporations and to just plain personal considerations. This is one of those articles. It also has the charm of being presented in a metaphoric style — a kind of fairy tale.

However charming the little story, the relevant part of the article is the questions. When you are performing a task, Ms. Russell suggests you ask questions like these:

1. Why do you do what you do? That is, what is its purpose or function?
2. How does it add to your life, work, relationships or whatever else is affected by it? How does it support your goals?
3. Is there any reason to continuing to do it?
4. Why do you do it in the way you do it?
5. Is there a better way to do it?

When I was young, there was a very popular saying: “Question everything!” I think we probably wouldn’t get much done if we questioned everything, but staying aware of our goals and whether or not we’re doing the best things to achieve them is probably a good idea.