I believe there are some essential questions that are useful across a variety of contexts, including, and perhaps especially, the workplace. In fact, I gave a commencement speech last year on this topic, suggesting to students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education that there are really only five essential questions in life. Although the audience was future educators, I believe these questions are equally … [ Read more ]
If you’re involved in activities that you’re already naturally inclined to do well, your attitude toward work is different and you contribute more to your workplace compared with someone who may have similar skills but less natural ability. Doing what you do best is essential to being a star performer at work. As an employee, you should ask yourself these questions:
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Jim Collins has spent a career probing the inner workings of great companies. Below, he boils 25 years of research into 12 questions that leaders must grapple with if they truly want to excel. Collins’s advice: Be systematic. Every month, have your leadership team discuss one of the following questions. Repeat the process annually for five years.
- Do we want to build a great company, and
… [ Read more ]
How can you tell if your company is fit for growth? Here is a simple, three-question diagnostic:
- Do you have clear priorities, focused on strategic growth, that drive your investments?
- Do your costs line up with those priorities? In other words, do you deploy your resources toward them efficiently and effectively?
- Is your organization set up to enable you to achieve those priorities?
Source: Is Your Company Fit … [ Read more ]
Ultimately, strategy is a way of thinking, not a procedural exercise or a set of frameworks. To stimulate that thinking and the dialogue that goes along with it, we developed a set of tests aimed at helping executives assess the strength of their strategies. We focused on testing the strategy itself (in other words, the output of the strategy-development process), rather than the frameworks, tools, … [ Read more ]
The following series of five yes-or-no questions can help you manage future performance in a new way. Your answers will steer you toward a turnaround conversation appropriate to the situation and the underperformer.
Once you become familiar with the questions youÂ´ll be able to assess which conversation is needed in a matter of minutes. YouÂ´ll be on your way to managing underperformance instead of living … [ Read more ]
Schoorman and Ballinger developed seven “trust items” that were tested with notable validity. For leaders interested in testing the trust waters in their organization, these seven questions provide a useful framework or litmus test to determine whether there is a need for further examination of the extent to which trust is present or absent in an organization. On a scale of one to five, with … [ Read more ]
- In the past 90 days, what were your three most important strategic accomplishments?
- In the past 90 days, what were the three most important ways you fell short of your potential?
- In the past 90 days, what are the three most important things you have learned about your strategy.
Source: What Determines Which Businesses Win and Which Lose? by Wayne Strom, PhD, Keith McFarland | Graziadio … [ Read more ]
There are several key decisions that must be made when designing a business:
Customer selection (including channel):
- What are the greatest profit growth opportunities that fall within my planning horizon?
- Which customers are crucial to those opportunities?
- What high-value customer opportunity should be targeted?
Value Proposition and Customer Priorities:
- What are the unsatisfied needs that drive the behavior of targeted customers
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- What if I don’t do this now?
- What if I don’t do this at all?
- Is this my project or priority or is it someone else’s?
- Is this activity critical to get me from where I am to where I want to be?
- Can anyone accomplish this task other than me?
by Jim Stovall
The CEO Refresher
- Why do we continue in this business?
- Why should anyone buy this product?
- What will prevent competitors from matching us? What will we do then?
- Why are we making so much money? Why won’t it eventually come to an end? What must we do now to prepare for or moderate that change?
by Jonathan Isaacs
Boston Consulting Group
- Why are we here? (Mission)
- Where are we going? (Vision)
- How are we getting there? (Strategies)
- Who’s doing what? (Structure)
- Under what conditions are we doing all of this? (Culture)
The Profit SpiralTM
by Katherine Catlin
- What options do you see for addressing this issue?
- What are the pros and cons of your preferred option?
- How will that solution meet your (or the business’s) needs?
- What steps do we need to take to implement your solution?
- Who else needs to be involved?
- What obstacles do you foresee and how can we get around them?
- How are we going to measure success?
Do You … [ Read more ]