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Set Up Questions
The Flag of Surrender has been hoisted


I think our organisation is about to raise the flag of surrender on meetings. When we meet our customers we ask them about what organisational matters irritate the senior people. "Too many lengthy meetings" is a very common irritant. So you’d think that someone would suggest fixing the meetings. But it doesn’t seem to work like that. Who is going to be brave enough to say to the senior people that they need to be meeting less and doing more. If your meetings don’t start on time then that should raise 100 red flags. If your meetings don’t follow the agenda then there’s some more red flags. 

Maybe some senior people have just settled into the comfortableness of having back to back meetings. If you’re in meetings all day long then you’d certainly appear to be important and productive. One of Australia’s largest organisations has a CEO who drives meetings to the nth degree. If the meeting is scheduled for 2pm and you are not there by 1.50pm, then you’re late. If you are not fully prepared by 1.55pm then you’re not prepared. And if you’re shuffling folders and digging in and out of folders then you’re signalling that you shouldn’t be at the meeting. The meetings are brutal but effective. Most meetings are less than 20 minutes and more is achieved in these meetings than your typical meeting where the minute hand does a 360 degree turn back to the top of the clock. 

So we’re not going to raise the flag of surrender just yet. Hopefully this article will get a few more of our customers on board to drive effective meetings. Trust me if you do this program you’ll never look back and regret it. Managing Meetings https://www.preftrain.com.au/training-courses/managing-meetings.php 

Set-Up Questions

A bolt of insight hit me the other day. I just noticed when someone asks you “why did you….” that they are asking you a “set-up” question. Regardless of your answer you’re going to be wrong. You might be thinking that they are inquiring as to why you did something. Nope, for me they are setting me up. Why did you give the dog chips? Well he looked hungry – Wrong answer. Why did you get to the office now? Well the traffic was busy – Wrong answer. 

So make a list of “set-up” questions that you get asked. It’s quite easy, just think of what “inquiry vocabulary” is used in a typical question where your answer gets derision. 

So now you know the set-up questions. My bolt of insight has revealed that there are only 2 responses to a set-up question. If you can ignore it then that’s gold. Yep just listen and identify the set-up question and then let it pass you by. Don’t even whimper a sound. Allow the set-up question to march by and watch it march over the cliff.

If ignoring the set-up question isn’t an option, then you need to be strategic. You need to disarm the question with your own question. You can’t get into trouble as you’re only asking a question.

Why did you give the dog chips
Why do you ask 

Why did you get to the office now
What time is it now 

Your question asking buys you some scurry time. You also get an insight into the context of the annoyance. You’re still in that wonderful place before derision and judgement. 

So I’ll leave you with a few set up questions to start your training. 

Why is your report late 

Why are you meeting the client interstate and not here 

Why did you not bring the washing in 

Why are your friends coming to our house tomorrow evening 

Why don’t you answer my questions 

The Flag of Surrender has been hoisted

Workplace bullying has beaten us. We’ve had grand plans to remove workplace bullying. We’ve had successes where the bully has voluntarily left the organisation. But the ultimate goal of removing all workplace bullying in an organisation has eluded us. Hoisting the flag of surrender is bittersweet. It frees us up to focus on all our other training courses. But the stubborn bully will remain in many organisations. Often the bully has some kind of advantage and the organisation lacks the backbone to remove the bully. The bully might have knowledge, power, technical brilliance or seniority power. The organisation will continue to clean up all the chaos that the bully causes. There will be confidential payouts and lots of cover ups. 

Indeed the organisation might even get the laminator out and stick up notices about how everyone is equal and how the organisation values respect etc. 

Alas the stubborn bully has beaten us. So if your organsiation has a stubborn bully that ain’t going anywhere, maybe it’s time to look up SEEK and update your LinkedIN profile. The recruitment companies do search and recruit through LinkedIn.

Apologies we couldn’t help you this time. To recoin a phrase “the bullies never win – well they do when the organisation is spineless”.

We’ll keep our bullying courses on our shelves. Who knows one day we might go to battle again. Here they are: 

Where’s Bully https://www.preftrain.com.au/training-courses/bullying-harassment-in-workplace.php 

Performance Management and Bullying Awareness https://www.preftrain.com.au/training-courses/performance-management-and-bullying-awareness.php 

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