Six Simple Questions Highly Successful Managers Keep Asking

The tragedy of poor management is lost potential and lack of fulfillment.

Successful managers create environments where people make a difference for themselves and their organizations.

managers who only celebrate achievement miss opportunities to celebrate progress

Six simple questions all successful managers ask:

#1. What does success look like?

  1. Paint pictures of success with the people doing the work. Include both personal and organizational objectives.
  2. Create goals and develop high standards together. Don’t impose them externally.
  3. Describe how we treat each other while doing the work. The most important thing about us is how we treat each other while we fulfill our mission.

#2. Where do you fit in?

  1. What’s happening down stream?
  2. What’s happening upstream?
  3. Who do you directly and indirectly serve?

#3. What do you need – that we can provide – to succeed?

#4. How will you objectively measure performance?

Show people how they’re doing. They will perform if they believe in the picture of success and they’re convinced improvement is possible.

I recently asked a team of managers what they were learning about bringing out the best in others. One said, “It’s amazing how performance goes up when people receive objective feedback.

She is able to measure performance by tracking tasks completed. All she does is show her team members a bar graph that displays everyone’s numbers. All names are blocked out, except the person she’s talking with.

Warning: Be careful what you measure. Quality is as important as quantity.

#5. How will we honor improvement, progress, and achievement?

Celebrating progress happens while work is being done. Celebrating achievement happens after work has been done.

Managers who only celebrate achievement neglect the power of celebrating improvement and progress.

Establish rhythms where you discuss what’s working.  

#6. What will we do when things go wrong?

    1. What will we do when someone falls short?
    2. How will we discuss tough issues?
    3. How and when will we share information? With who?

What simple questions do successful managers ask?