One Last Question

Columbo was a popular detective show which was on TV from 1971-1978. The main character, Lieutenant Columbo, was played by Peter Falk. He was a contrast to the image of the savvy detective in that he wore an old raincoat and seemed to be at a loss in his investigations.

But Columbo had one unique approach. When his investigation had seemingly ended, he would say: “Just one more thing?” The one more thing final question became the solution to the crime.

No matter what our job is, we can benefit from asking just one more thing. Imagine having just finished up a project designed to improve work practices. The results have been achieved. But think of just one more thing, “What else can we do to improve this?” That’s the essence of continuous improvement.

Let’s suppose you are finishing up a successful engagement with a customer. But think of just one more thing. “How else can I help you?” or “Can you tell others I might be able to help?”

Maybe you have finished facilitating a planning meeting. The plans seem to be shaping up nicely. But think of just one more thing, “What is our contingency plan should this not work out?” or “How are we going to assess our progress?”

You have just provided guidance to a subordinate who has been struggling. The guidance you have given them seems to be accepted, and the subordinate seems to be relieved. But think of just one more thing, “Would you let me know how this works out?”

Asking that last question can often be the most important thing that we can do. But we often fail to ask that final question. Why is that? Are we too anxious to move on to something else? Maybe we forget. Or do we not see the value? One final question we need to ask ourselves is “Just one more thing.”

* * *

 “It is not wrong to question things… The fact that you’re asking questions shows that you’re five levels of wisdom above the idiot who’s objecting to you asking the questions.” – Josh Tolling (Inspirational speaker)

How To Use

Useful guides for incorporating messages into discussion.