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Family businesses have common recipes for success 

Bluso, Linda L. "Family Businesses Have Common Recipes for Success." Crain's Cleveland Business. Oct. 2016



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16 Questions Good Leaders Should be Asking? Are You Asking Them?

Photo by SIphotography/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by SIphotography/iStock / Getty Images

Good leaders ask strategic questions. Business leaders are responsible for making a great many decisions. They aren’t necessarily expected to have all the answers. What they are expected to do is to ask the questions that lead to those answers.

The answers will show leaders trends, trend convergence and insights for both the external and internal landscape. In addition to gathering information, great questions can spur creativity; uncover blind spots and faulty assumptions; and build consensus across a team.

Great leaders don’t wait for a problem to occur or schedule a twice-a-year companywide town hall meeting before they ask and answer questions. Instead, they ask questions all the time, in meetings, on the phone, in the hallway and walking around the company. Often casual questions and conversations can lead to great insights.

Anyone impacted by a company should be part of this question practice: custodial staff, administrative staff, customers, sales staff, production line workers as well as managers. This will only work if you are authentic and really curious about learning.

There also has to be a safe environment, so people can give candid and truthful responses. Certainly, managers should help with this process. But true leaders don’t rely on other people to gather all crucial information about how a company is running and where it is going.

What questions should a leader be asking? The following list will help you get started.

  • What does success look like for our business?

  • How will we know it when we are there?

  • What are the most important assumptions we are making?

  • Is this the best use of our time and energy right now? Why?

  • What is working that helps us get closer to what we want to create?

  • What barriers stand in the way of what we want to create? 

  • How does this affect us?

  • What do we need to know that we don’t know yet?

  • What other questions do we need to be asking right now?

  • Why are we doing this?

  • What do you think?

  • Am I doing what I most need to be doing right now?

  • How would you feel about this decision 10 minutes...months…years from now? 

  • If you didn’t have this today, how much (time, energy, resources) would you spend to get it?

  • If you had to make a case for not doing this, what would it be?

  • How much time do we have?

What you don’t know can hurt you and there are things you will never know unless you ask. So what are you waiting for? Go ask some questions.

Some of these questions came from "10 Questions That Great Leaders Ask,’’ by Ken Sands.

Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers
— Anthony Robbins
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