The Question Method® is based on the book, Creating High Performers, offering managers certainty on the following:

1) What should I be providing to direct reports?
2) Am I doing this well?
3) Why is underperformance happening?
4) What actions should I take to improve performance?

The 7 Questions are an easy-to-use foundation for a conversation leading to targeted, effective performance management and coaching. Real-life stories experienced by the author as a manager or coach illustrate the value of each question.

Additions in this 2nd edition include:

1. An expanded discussion of why and how the traditional model for supervision is failing
2. A clear definition of a proposed new role of supervisor (people manager) to meet the needs of today's workforce, including a listing of what products or outcomes a people manager should be delivering
3. How to restart and build a strong working relationship with employees

4. Follow-up questions for each of the 7 Questions to clarify what's possibly missing that could lead to improved performance
5. Why it is essential to ask the 7 Questions in the context of current performance, i.e., whether it exceeds, meets or falls below expectations
6. An expanded discussion on how to discern whether poor performance is a Can't Do or Won't Do Problem and how to solve it.
7. A new chapter on how the six ways to employ the 7 Questions for improved organizational performance
8. An expanded Troubleshooting chapter based on challenges/questions of managers trained and coached on the 7 Questions method. This book brings clarity and method for those new to managing others. For experienced managers, it offers a new approach to overcoming the ill effects of old practices. It details how to shift to a new role and establish the trust this new method requires. For both, it offers a way to gain greater satisfaction from managing others and to add more value to your organization.


Also, available at Leading Retailers: Amazon, BookShop and Barnes and Noble. Audiobook available at


Based on the book Creating High Performers, the Question Method consists of:
• Redefining your role as people manager with your direct reports.
• Establishing an open/honest relationship based on commitment to mutually-held goals.
• Providing objective feedback on performance.
• Determining the real why for not reaching full potential.
• Developing an action plan for steps by both parties to improve performance/reach new goals.
• Holding one another accountable for execution of the action plan.


To achieve the gains made possible by deploying The Question Method®, people managers need to complete the following:

Elements #1-3 are a shift in mindset. The mindset is vital to coming across as sincere when you announce a change in how you will engage with employees going forward. Item #4 involves putting the tools available on this site to work. The shift in mindset can be made by reading Creating High Performers, watching the videos, and reading the blogs on the site. That should be your first step. Once you become committed to making the shift, the other resources on the site, including Coaching services and emailing us your questions at can help you become proficient.


Uncertainty leads to managers not addressing underperformance, not maximizing the potential of good performers, and not finding satisfaction in people management.

In this video, William Dann discusses his journey from personal experiences to writing a book on effective management, focusing on addressing the need for improved people management skills and advocating for regular one-on-one meetings to enhance employee engagement and managerial proficiency.


First, separate a compensation/bonus conversation from the Question Method® (QM) conversations. The compensation question should be annual, scheduled by itself, and use data from the QM conversations held throughout the year. Your organization may require some documentation of your QM conversations for employee files. Either submit all of them or complete an annual summary per whatever your organization’s policy dictates.

Yes. If your organization has adopted the Question Method®, they should be orienting employees to it as part of onboarding. If not, then schedule a meeting to introduce the Method yourself, explain why you are employing it, and direct them to the website for videos and blogs to understand how the Question Method® works. You should always introduce the concept, and a general overview of what you will be doing in the conversation before having that conversation. If you choose to transition an established workforce to the Question Method® we recommend a systemic introduction for existing employees. The introduction should include training and coaching opportunities for supervisors and managers, access to copies of the book or concept summary handouts, and a formal employee introduction delivered to all staff.

If the employee’s performance is above standard in all areas, then pat yourself on the back and focus your conversation on career/skill goals you can now work on that will move them along. Establish new goals and begin the process of asking the Questions anew.

If employee performance is simply at standard or below standard, then explain that the Questions are designed to highlight areas in which your coaching can add value to the employee and boost performance. If you get all “yeses,” then essentially, the employee is telling you there is nothing you can do, i.e., it gives you a loss. It is a “no” or a “usually” that will define for you an area where you can add value, and that’s a win for you. If the employee appears uncomfortable, take a break, and ask them to think about it between now and a follow-up meeting you should schedule for a few days later.

Focus on defining a vision for the future of the employee you can hold in common and contribute to, then set a goal(s) to reach that vision and use the Questions to develop an action plan for how you can add value. Remember, career development is the #1 need, satisfier of today’s employee.

This could be simply reticence from the employee, a lack of understanding of what you might be able to do to help, or a sign of trouble. First, ask some prompts, e.g., “Would reviewing your draft documents be helpful”, “Would letting you practice with me your having a conversation with an employee be helpful”, “Would meeting regularly to give you feedback be helpful”, etc. If this does not work, then look for other signs that what you are dealing with is a Can’t Do employee (refer to the book for details on the signs) and then take appropriate measures to raise accountability for performance and the failure to perform or handle issues from outside of work that are impacting.

Ideally, once you have had your foundational conversation and established an action plan for moving forward, a conversation every 30 days to review progress, update the plan, etc., is good. Touching base on an informal basis once a week is ideal for maintaining the relationship. Keep it light, e.g., “any changes?”, “any wins” and communicate appreciation for any accomplishments you have noticed. A formal reset with resetting of goals and asking the Questions should be done quarterly,


A sample of what managers who have put the Method to work have to say about its impact

We want to hear from you

We are on a mission to improve people management and reduce the rate at which employees are leaving the workplace because of ``bad bosses'. We also want to give people managers, most of whom get no training, workable tools that give them certainty and satisfaction from doing well for their employees. To do this, we need to hear from you.

Please contact us and let us know the following:

What has been your experience, good or otherwise, with using The Question Method®️? What questions or challenges arose that you would have liked guidance on?

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