Organizations, apart from intervention, always drift toward irrelevance.
Leaders look like fools when they challenge comfortable patterns.
Use courage and tact when challenging drift. Don’t unnecessarily offend those you’re working to influence.
10 smart questions that challenge the drift toward irrelevance:
#1. What are we afraid to say out loud?
- Use an anonymous process for responses. (If you’re afraid to ask this question, it’s time to ask it.)
- Discuss responses publicly.
- “What behaviors hinders forward facing candor?”
- “What might we do to build a safe environment, where optimistic candor is normal?”
#2. If we fail to achieve our goal, what will we not have done? You might add a time constraint like, “If we fail to achieve our goal in six months….?
Use this question to address patterns of poor performance.
#3. What assumptions drive our decisions?
- What are we assuming about ourselves?
- What are we assuming about others?
- What are we assuming about this situation?
- What are we assuming about success?
#4. If we were replaced tomorrow, what would the new team do?
#5. Who is underutilized?
#6. What are we doing that isn’t working as well as it used to? Or, you might ask, what do we need to stop?
#7. What results best fulfill our mission and justify our existence?
#8. If we couldn’t fail, what would we do next?
#9. How might we create our own frustrations?
#10. What’s the easiest thing we could do today to move the ball forward?
Bonus: Where have we slipped into fixing problems rather than maximizing strengths?