Sep 242016

Here is an old story credited to anonymity.

An old man was seated at the doctor’s waiting room. When called in to see the doctor, the old man, grasping his cane and hunching over, slowly got up and made his way into the examining room. After only a few minutes, the man, walking completely upright, emerged from the room. A patient, who had watched him, hobbled into the room, fully hunched over and stared in amazement.

“That must be a miracle doctor in there!” he exclaimed. “What treatment did he give you? What’s his secret?”

The old man looked at him and said, “Well, the doctor looked at me from top to bottom, analyzed the situation, and gave me a cane that was four inches longer than the one I had been using.”

How often do we give everyone the same length cane, that is, the same answer for every problem?

Then, there are those people who see every problem as a nail for which they have only one cure—a hammer!

Event organizers get me to be keynote speaker for their client’s events and I am so thankful for the businesses they bring me. But the good event organizer will make sure that there is an alignment between what their clients want and what I have to say.

I love doing TNA (Training Needs Analysis) with clients. I have so many ideas to share but if the message provided does not meet their needs, then they are mere rhetoric and do not carry benefit for the client. They pay me well but I feel like I have done a misdeed and have short-changed the clients. The philosophy behind the practice is very simple. Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.

I have also, in certain occasions, discuss the needs of the client and upon my recommendation and professional opinion, I suggest another course of action or politely decline the client’s desire for me to speak to their teams knowing that in doing so, the solution would not be provided.

There is no such thing as a “one-answer-fits all.” These are called “Pat Answers.” Causes of problems can be complex and multiple and this is why professional consultants will have to make sure that they are able to address their client’s needs.

Similarly, people within the organization may not be able to “see” the causes for their company’s challenges and they need an outside perspective or intervention to be able to address their problems and come up with unbiased course of action to be taken.

There are no “Pat Answers” to life’s problems either.

There is no single formula for all parents that can administer to their children when all their kids are different in personalities and demeanor. I wish it was that simple. But a particular style of parenting applies to one child may work but the same style may not work with another.

Similarly, there are no “Pat Answers” to leadership issues. You would have wished that their business lives were that simple. But context and timing are important factors to consider. A right solution applied at a wrong time under the wrong context becomes a bad solution.

We need to do due diligence in understanding people and situations.

We need to ask questions and really listen to what people are saying.

We need to look at things from other people’s perspectives and that includes our clients, our people and our loved ones. See where they are coming from.

There are no “Pat Answers” to success either.

When you read biographies and magazine articles of successful people (most of which have been edited and sterilized), their stories may inspire us but what they did and how they did it are not “Pat Answers” to our unique context and timing.

Clichés are “Pat Answers.”

• “Believe in yourself.”

• “You can do anything you want.”

• “Follow your passion.”

Everything has a context and everything requires some sort of timing. Trainers and speakers should be responsible for the things they say because they can either cause irreparable damage or they can build lives.

Before one can give the right answers, the same person must first learn to ask the right questions. And this takes harder work and efforts but this is the way it should be. Even the famed French philosopher Voltaire says: “Judge a man by his questions than by his answers.”

Ever wondered why Jesus Christ would answer a question by asking another question? That is because He never gave out “Pat Answers”.

(“Will To Win” is a conference that will be held on Oct. 1, 2016, 1-6 p.m. at Crowne Plaza Hotel. Be inspired and learn from speakers Francis Kong, Randell Tiongson, Gretchen Ho and Carlo Ople as they share principles and experiences on how to win in business, finance, career and social media. For further inquiries contact Michael at +63916-187-1506 or call Trisha at+63928-559-1798 for details)

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