No Answers?

A handful of quick tips to help you get the answers you need. This is a critical skillset for building projects, growing a contracting business, and developing careers.

D. Brown Management Profile Picture



This list is for the more complex and nuanced answers that really matter. Obviously if you are asking a simple question like "Where's the bathroom?" this list hopefully doesn't apply. 

  • You might be asking the wrong person. Consider working to triangulate by starting with developing a list of up to five people who you believe have the right experience and intent to provide you with a good answer. Some of the best researchers describe that they often get similar answers when asking four or less "experts" on a subject but on average when they get to the fifth or sixth person, they start to get divergent thinking which can be incredibly valuable when making decisions. 
  • You might be asking the question the wrong way - see the 8-Step Checklist for Good Questions.
  • You might be asking the wrong question. For example, asking a "How can this work?" question instead of a "Should this be done at all?" question. These are usually where people get caught up in constructability vs. value-engineering at the project level or when working to manage with finite resources at the company or career level. 
  • You might not be ready to understand the answer. To understand something requires a combination of experience to provide context for the answer, complexity of thought to process that answer within the context, and an awareness of the cognitive biases we all have. 
  • There might not be an answer. Some complex questions simply don't have answers and many more don't have comfortable answers.


"Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein

Be especially aware of people who are providing simple and likable answers to complex and difficult questions. Lose 30 pounds in 30 days without working out....

  • This may be wisdom and experience being able to see the simplicity from a higher level which is why enabling hierarchies are critical.
  • This may be a total lack of their understanding and experience, which is why it is important to choose who you ask the questions to.
  • This may be bad intentions designed to get you to take an action including buying something. 


Additional Resources


Related Training

Evolving Focus with Growth and Leadership Levels
All contractors are built on the same foundation, which starts with the amazing crafts people. With growth in the business, project size, and your level of leadership, the time you allocate to different layers of the pyramid must evolve.
Business Model Basics for Contractors
A contractor's strategic choices along with the supporting management systems and organizational structure must fit into a viable business model. A business model IS NOT a business plan.
Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM) and Contractor Growth
A responsibility matrix is a simple but powerful tool for helping everyone on a project and in the company see who is responsible for what. With a few added columns, it can easily indicate when, what tools, and link to the "how-to" procedures.