Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions – Peter Senge

The best way to learn is to ask questions. Here are a few starters for diagnosing the strengths and weaknesses of your organization.

  • What are our unifying values? What have we stood for over time? The ability to provide context and meaning for the work people do is key.
  • How do you organize your time? Is it spent on what you say is important? If you want to know if you’re really adding value, look at your calendar.
  • Whom do you depend on? Your real work team is those people you count on to do your job — including support staff, suppliers, customers, direct reports, even regulators. Your performance depends on the quality of those relationships.
  • What are you being paid for? All leaders must understand what results they’re accountable for.
  • How well do you practice teamwork, empowerment, service, or whatever values you espouse? Credibility is the No. 1 issue for leaders. By taking an honest look at your own practices — and asking others to look at them — you’ll know where you stand.
  • How do you convey difficult issues? Learning requires an acceptance, by definition, that one doesn’t have all the answers. Your ability to discuss complex problems and develop solutions without making others defensive is a key to learning.

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