April 13, 2012
Ask the Right Questions!

This is the first of several Heart of Innovation postings from the World Business Forum, which we recently attended in NYC. The conference was very inspiring. Great speakers. Timely content. And lots of food for thought (and feeling).

One theme that several presenters noted was the importance of asking the right question.
tal.jpg
Tal Ben Shahar: "How do you get others to focus on what works? By asking the right questions."

Tal implored the audience to change the questions they are asking, noting that if we only ask "What's wrong?" (as many business leaders are wont to do), the answers will be unnecessarily skewed in response to that particular filter.

The most serious mistakes being made in business these days, according to Ben Shahar?

Asking the wrong question.

ben-zander.jpgBen Zander spoke passionately about this theme, as well.

The "rhythm of transformation", he explained, is totally dependent on creating new frameworks -- and creating new frameworks is often a function of being willing to ask powerful, new questions. (Ben, by the way, is the answer to the question: "How do you deliver the most powerfully compelling presentation to 4,000 people sitting on plastic seats at the Jacob Javits Convention Center?"

bill_clinton.jpgBill Clinton was all over this "question asking' theme, as well.

"If we spend all our time asking the wrong questions, we're going to get the wrong answers. If we ask the right question, we still may get the wrong answer, but at least we'll have a chance."

"We're all in the future business", Clinton declared.

Amen. Clearly, if we want to create a future worth living, we will all need to start asking much more powerful questions than ever before -- questions that reflect our growing interdependency and collective need for conscious leadership.

jack-welch-a.jpgAnd finally, Jack Welsh weighed in on the topic.

When asked by the interviewer how a business leader can accurately assess an employee's passion, he replied "By the intensity of their questions."

In other words, if you are trying to figure out which person to hire or which employee to assign to a particularly challenging project, make sure you tune into the kinds of questions candidates are asking.

If their questions are flabby or non-existent, it's a dead giveaway that your candidate is ill-equipped to take on the assignment.

If their questions are thoughtful, penetrating, and full of mojo, it's a clue that you are talking to the right person for the job.

SOME QUESTIONS FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

1. What are you passionate about?
2. How can you make a profound difference on the planet?
3. What do you need to do differently in order to make this difference?
4. Who is your tribe?
5. How can you stay inspired?

6. How can you foster a culture of innovation?
7. What legacy do you want to leave behind?
8. What risk are you willing to take this week?
9. What is your vision?
10. What are your instincts telling you about your hottest, new idea?

Get the right question to brainstorm
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at April 13, 2012 01:40 PM

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