A Way is not a person or a position; a Way is a way to think and communicate. I will describe the three types; Way One, Way Two and Way Three. They are very different, but also very connected. There is a little of each Way in all of us. Understanding the Ways is to know which way to think in the situation you are dealing with at any specific moment. The Way we think is connected to the Way we communicate. Thinking is individualistic and communication occurs between two or more individuals. Not only should I be thinking the right Way at the right time, hopefully the individual I’m communicating with also is. Otherwise we will have broken lines of communication, wires crossed, or we just won’t connect.
Way One thinking is to identify the objective. Way Two is to develop the plan. Way Three is to execute the objective through the plan. Other common elements are Why, How, What – Idea, Plan Action, and – Objective, Strategies, Tactics.
I picked my eleven-year-old daughter up from school one day. She jumped in the car and began to tell me about a writing competition at school. I found out that the winner would receive a $100 savings bond. So I asked her, “What are you going to do?” She responded, “Daddy, I need you to take me to the store and buy me pens and a notebook.” I said, “ok, but that did not answer my question.” She said, “Yes it did, you asked me “what” not “how”, but I’m just messing with you, my plan is to write a tearjerker!” She proceeded to tell me that the pens and notebook are the tactics, her plan was to write a tearjerker and the objective was to win the savings bond. Wow…she really has been listening to me talk ROE™ all this time!
You can’t argue with the answer if you don’t ask the right question. “What” questions address the tactics, “How” questions are related to the plan and “Why” questions are associated to the objective. Just like Way One, Two and Three, your respective thought process answers Why, How and What. In the example with my daughter, I was thinking “How” but I asked a “What” question.
Answering phones at the office is a tactic, a “What”. Does the receptionist answer the phone because it’s ringing or because of customer service? Does the receptionist perform the tactic knowing Why they are doing What they are doing? What is the phone. Why is customer service. How many “Whats” are tied to customer service in your company? Which plans are measuring what is working and who is the Way Two manager of customer service?
The three Ways to think and communicate are part of our daily life. We might switch thought processes on our drive home from the office, but the Way we think and communicate does not change. I might be responsible for my company’s “Why” and the objectives, but I know when I get home, I need to perform the tactics aligned to my wife’s plan!
By the way, my daughter came home from school the other day and said, “the teacher did not have a very good strategy today.” I’ve created a monster.
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