Nine Questions Every Leader Should Ask
Written by AmyK Hutchens
People often say they just need the better answer to move ahead of their competitors in business. What they really need is the better question. Why? The brain triggers on questions, and when you ask your brain a really great question, only then do you get the really great answer. There are nine questions that leaders and entrepreneurs should ask themselves if they not only want to survive but thrive! The secret in finding the great solution lies in the power of the questions you ask. Have you ever had one of those times when you’re stuck, and you just can’t seem to find a way out? The only way out is to ask better questions. For example, when you say, “Sales are down,” most people run around shouting, “Why are our sales down? What are we going to do about this?” These are NOT helpful questions.
The more powerful questions are:
1. What are our customers resisting?
2. What are our customers attached to?
3. What are our customers judging?
When you know the answers to these three questions, then you can answer why your sales are down and what to do about it. Here are several better business questions that require some mental heavy lifting, in other words, some higher level thinking that will improve your business results.
Question #4: How do you define a great client relationship? How can you replicate great clients if you don’t know how to define them? Too many sales people chase after the ill-defined “great catch” only to spend way too much time reeling in the wrong thing! Once you’ve defined your ideal client, you can more readily find it, and bring it on board!
Question #5: How do you create a healthy company culture? The economy doesn’t determine or even shape a company’s culture…unless the leaders let it. When do most leaders deal with culture? When it’s bad. Take control, now….define the vision you want to create, then purposefully guide the culture you are creating on a continual and consistent basis.
Question #6: How do you define great performance and productivity? Just because you give someone a job description and a paycheck doesn’t mean you have set them up to be a stellar performer. What objectives do they need to specifically achieve? By when? When you turn Job descriptions into Position Performance Profiles with 30, 60, 90, 180 (etc.) day objectives, you set people up to succeed.
Question #7: How do you define great leadership? Too many people hire on skill and fire on trait. Just because someone was a great achiever in the I.T. department or was great with a spreadsheet doesn’t mean they have the skills to lead others. Leadership has its own set of skills. If you’re hiring managers, or even promoting from within, make sure your people are properly trained in leadership skills. The best players don’t always make the best coaches.
Question #8: What makes for a great team? Ever work on a dysfunctional team?! Understanding the roles/contributions of each person on the team is invaluable. Additionally, high functioning teams need clear objectives, a defined purpose for getting together and healthy communication and conflict resolution tools. And these ingredients are just for starters!
Question #9: Who influences the influencer? Great leaders cannot lead in isolation. What are you reading? Who are you listening to? Who is listening to you? If you want to be an effective leader you need a sounding board, another brilliant brain on your side. Whether you hire a coach, join a peer group that serves as your think tank, or simply participate in on-going leadership events, you need to expose yourself to innovative and strategic thinking that challenges you, validates when you’re on the right track and steers you back on course when necessary! Is your brain buzzing? That’s the point of these questions – to ignite your own brilliance!
About the Author: With presentations to 30,000+ executives in eight countries, AmyK Hutchens serves as an Intelligence Activist and business strategist to leaders around the globe. She is a former senior EVP of Operations for a leading sales and marketing firm, Director of Education for Europe and Australia for a 900 million dollar consumer products company, and chosen member of National Geographic's Educator Advisory Committee. To learn more about her firm’s proprietary Leadership Links program please visit www.amyk.com. Follow AmyK on Twitter @AmyKinc or visit at www.amyk.com. http://www.amyk.com.
G7 Summit guide: What it is and what leaders hope to achieve
Unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand, you’ll have seen the term ‘G7’ plastered all over the Internet this week. We’re going to give you the skinny on exactly what the G7 is and what its purpose on this planet is ─ and whether it’s a good or a bad collaboration.
Who are the G7?
The Group of Seven, or ‘G7’, may sound like a collective of pirate lords from a certain Disney smash-hit, but in reality, it’s a group of the world’s seven largest “advanced” economies ─ the powerhouses of the world, if you like.
The merry band comprises:
- The United Kingdom
- The United States
Historically, Russia was a member of the then-called ‘G8’ but found itself excluded after their ever-so-slightly illegal takeover of Crimea back in 2014.
Since 1977, the European Union has also been involved in some capacity with the G7 Summit. The Union is not recognised as an official member, but gradually, as with all Europe-linked affairs, the Union has integrated itself into the conversation and is now included in all political discussions on the annual summit agenda.
When was the ‘G’ formed?
Back in 1975, when the world was reeling from its very first oil shock and the subsequent financial fallout that came with it, the heads of state and government from six of the leading industrial countries had a face-to-face meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet to discuss the global economy, its trajectory, and what they could do to address the economic turmoil that reared its ugly head throughout the 70s.
Why does the G7 exist?
At this very first summit ─ the ‘G6’ summit ─, the leaders adopted a 15-point communiqué, the Declaration of Rambouillet, and agreed to continuously meet once a year moving forward to address the problems of the day, with a rotating Presidency. One year later, Canada was welcomed into the fold, and the ‘G6’ became seven and has remained so ever since ─ Russia’s inclusion and exclusion not counted.
The group, as previously mentioned, was born in the looming shadow of a financial crisis, but its purpose is more significant than just economics. When leaders from the group meet, they discuss and exchange ideas on a broad range of issues, including injustice around the world, geopolitical matters, security, and sustainability.
It’s worth noting that, while the G7 may be made up of mighty nations, the bloc is an informal one. So, although it is considered an important annual event, declarations made during the summit are not legally binding. That said, they are still very influential and worth taking note of because it indicates the ambitions and outlines the initiatives of these particularly prominent leading nations.
Where is the 2021 G7 summit?
This year, the summit will be held in the United Kingdom deep in the southwest of England, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson hosting his contemporaries in the quaint Cornish resort of Carbis Bay near St Ives in Cornwall.
What will be discussed this year?
After almost two years of remote communication, this will be the first in-person G7 summit since the novel Coronavirus first took hold of the globe, and Britain wants “leaders to seize the opportunity to build back better from coronavirus, uniting to make the future fairer, greener, and more prosperous.”
The three-day summit, running from Friday to Sunday, will see the seven leaders discussing a whole host of shared challenges, ranging from the pandemic and vaccine development and distribution to the ongoing global fight against climate change through the implementation of sustainable norms and values.
According to the UK government, the attendees will also be taking a look at “ensuring that people everywhere can benefit from open trade, technological change, and scientific discovery.”