Book Review on “The Dan Sullivan Question” (2009)

Book Review on “The Dan Sullivan Question” (2009)

I’ll give the book 5 stars for the model, and 3 stars on the writing quality.  This review will focus on the model behind “The Question.”

The subtitle explains its lofty vision:  “Ask it and transform anyone’s future”

This book was referred to me by several clients.  They had taken part in the Strategic Coach Program.  They wanted to work with me because they needed more customized executive coaching.

Also, I have been solicited by Strategic Coach sale people to attend their program.  (I must have attended a webinar.)

Dan Sullivan has coached over 13,000 business leaders and entrepreneurs, over 20 years.

So, what is the one question that 1) warrants a book, 2) warrants so much acclaim?

He starts the book with an anecdote from a business leader who feels: 1) confused, 2) isolated, and 3) powerless.  Despite his financial success, he is working long hours.  He needs a better system.  Like many people, that business owner is seeking how to 1) transform confusion into clarity, 2) isolation into confidence, and 3) powerlessness into capability.

Sound too magical or impossible?  Give this review another minute.

Imagine that you respond to that business leader with a question of your own.  Your question has two parts.  Part one is this:

“If we were having this discussion three years from today, and you were looking back over those three years, what has to have happened in your life, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress?”

Sullivan found that 85-90% of these business owners pause, then provide a substantial answer.  These are the “users.”  These people become your prospects and clients.  And you can ask them part two of the question.

5-10% of the business owners are confused.  They cannot abstract or imagine the future in this way.  These are not your prospects or clients.  Thank them and move on.

And less than 5% of the business owners are “refusers.”  They are not willing to embrace a relationship.  They refuse to answer the question.  Therefore they have just saved you tremendous time and energy.  Thank them and move on, quickly.

Notice how you are pre-qualifying your prospects?  Notice how the question is all about building rapport?  Notice how the question is all about the other person– their aspirations and vision?

Humans are aspirational.

Some characteristics of this question include:

1. it is futuristic, and implies a continued relationship with you

2.  it is specific to a time period– “in three years”– which most people can envision and describe

3.  “looking back” requires synthesizing skills, abstraction, and specific descriptions

4.  “for you to feel happy” is subjective, and happiness is the primary motivator for mankind.  Through all recorded history.

Now that you have asked that business leader part one of the question, you are ready for part two.  Sullivan calls part two the D.O.S., an acronym standing for Dangers, Opportunities and Strengths.  You can use simialr words.  The point is to use specific words that help others clarify their intentions into actions.

Part two of the question is:

“Specifically, what dangers do you have now that need to be eliminated, what opportunities need to be captured, and what strengths need to be captured?”

This structure invites the other person to articulate specific Dangers/ Opportunities/ Strengths.  When I have used this question I ask for permission to record notes.  Then I help the other person articulate their top three items.  Then I provide those notes as a gift.  Or a coaching focus.  The results have been astounding.

Now imagine putting part one and part two together…

“If we were having this discussion three years from today, and you were looking back over those three years, what has to have happened in your life, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy with your progress?”

“Specifically, what dangers do you have now that need to be eliminated, what opportunities need to be captured, and what strengths need to be captured?”

Can you imagine adopting this as a script?

Print this blog article.  Forward it to your team.  Then adopt this script.

It has helped me.  It has helped thousands of entrepreneurs focus on adding value and transforming others.

Yes of course, I can help you implement this model into your business. 

Then call me at 704.895.6479.  Tell me what you think.

Or add a comment below…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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