On reflection decided to invite your competitors to pitch for our business

16 May 2024

On reflection – we’ve decided to invite your competitors to pitch for our business

When we get a statement of this kind from our client, what is the first question that we respond with?


“But why would you do this?”

This is quite a poor question to ask because it makes the client justify their decision, drawing out many reasons which were perhaps quite insignificant till now; the why question digs them deeper into their position.

A much better question is a ‘How’ or a “What” question, as they are more ‘solution focused’ than a why question which is ‘problem’ focused. The How may be stated as….”That’s tough to hear. We’ve certainly taken our eyes off the ball somewhere and we’re ready to address that. How can we have a chance to turn things around and avoid a pitch from others?”

As Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung put it, “To ask the right question is already half the solution to a problem.”

So instead of asking why something isn’t working or happening, start asking how it can be improved and what you can do better the next time.

My Neighbour once complained that my nephew had a fight with his friend over who should bat first, instead of asking him why he fought, I simply asked “what are better ways to resolve the conflict without fighting?” This sent his mind into a whole new direction.

What do you think are other situations where a ‘why’ will not work?

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