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Entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and even team leads are all under continuous pressure to build, grow, and improve. The best way to keep constant forward momentum? By always asking questions.
Warren Berger, the author of A More Beautiful Question, points out that the “most creative, successful business leaders have tended to be expert questioners. They’re known to question the conventional wisdom of their industry, the fundamental practices of their company, even the validity of their own assumptions.”
We’re big believers in the power of harnessing your network and think there is an immeasurable benefit to be gained by asking the right people the right questions. But sometimes, the most important person to ask is yourself.
Everyone is busy these days and it isn’t always easy to carve out time for introspection. So here are three questions that don’t take long to consider, but make a significant impact.
#1) What’s stopping us from becoming a massive company?
Alyssa Atkins, Founder and CEO of Lilia
Toronto-based entrepreneur, Alyssa Atkins, wastes no time dancing around the issues with her deep and direct question. But, at the end of the day, isn’t this exactly what we all want to know?
While experts may advise leaders to consider their market position, customer journey, or corporate culture, there are certain advantages to taking a more big-picture approach. Chiefly, it lets you tap into what Malcolm Gladwell calls “a second kind of brain operating below the surface that’s capable of making very sophisticated judgments very quickly.”
This question forces you to think past the daily grind or the monthly metrics, and really consider what it takes to win.
#2) What do you want your best person to say about you?
Tom Gimbel, Founder and CEO of LaSalle Network
If you boil it down, a corporation is a network of individuals working towards a common goal. The strategy, the mission—it’s all important, but it’s the bonds and relationships that really drive corporate success.
Major market leaders implicitly know this, but Google went a step further with a full-out study. They found that success correlates with team members feeling “confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea.’
Most leaders don’t have the Google-sized war chest needed for a full internal study. Instead, Tom Gimbel’s insightful question opens up your view of the world and lets you consider the impression you’re making and the bonds you’ve built.
#3) Are you easy to reach?
Jason Feifer, Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine
This sounds like the easiest of the three questions to answer, but it might actually be the hardest. By asking this question, Jason Feifer proposes you consider how your availability affects drumming up new business. He points out that if you’re hard to find, prospects will move on to someone who isn’t. He’s right. But there’s more.
Firstly, it’s not just prospective clients, it’s also important to think about whether your coworkers, employees, and larger professional network are able to connect with you. Secondly, there’s a more philosophical question here about whether you’re actually making yourself available or if you’re just going through the motions. Are you responsive and helpful when others reach out to you? Do you initiate conversions and create touchpoints?
It’s one thing to publish your email address. It’s another to create a web of strong connections.