One of the most freeing experiences I have ever witnessed comes when a person achieves a high level of clarity in a situation in which they have previously been stuck. Clarity helps identify the road ahead, gives a sense of confidence for movement and a certain belief for increased chances of succeeding.
When a leader has an improvement in clarity, it usually comes from an intense engagement in self-observation or a different viewpoint of the organization. Some leaders are well prepared for this exercise, while others may not. Some may be so in-depth with their own methods, they refuse to change the view point. Some may answer accurately with a changed viewpoint, but refuse to change their method.
In most cases, a change in both is required for increased results and long term improvement.
Here are 5 power questions I’ve used frequently which can bring clarity to circumstances, your mileage may vary!
1. Are you happy with the results you are getting?
In most cases, this is a simple yes or no question. However, you will more than likely find leaders waffling back and forth trying to answer accurately or talking their way through it. It is possible to be totally happy with results in any given area. Hopefully, that is the case. In most cases, however, the trouble spots become clear and through human nature, we are acutely aware of the particular areas of our lives and organizations which are not up to snuff. As Jim Collins says, be prepared to face the brutal reality.
2. What are you tolerating?
We all tolerate things in our lives and organizations. The question is designed to pinpoint and clarify it exactly. It could be a pain in your body you have tolerated rather than checking on, it could be relationship based, employee based, customer based and so on. All leaders have a few things we purposefully overlook which are constant hindrances. What are they? What are these issues which are a thorn in your side you need to address?
3. Where are you procrastinating?
All leaders have things they have been putting off. Starting is the hardest part, right? Procrastination is an attitude which needs confrontation and it starts with a simple, clarifying question.
4. What is the goal you set for yourself or your organization you really want?
Focus is the result of elimination. Throw everything else out and answer the question identifying the most important objective you desire. All goals are reached through the deep power of intention and desire. Bringing it to the forefront of your focus can only result in improved performance and results. Don’t get mired down in multiple, complex plans and a long list of goals. What is the most important one? It deserves at least 60% of your focus, but you have to identify it first.
5. What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now?
80% of the human population think from the problem solver mindset. It’s difficult to move forward without removing obstacles to objectives. Identify the one which is going to requires most of your focus and energy, then set yourself about displacing the challenge. The momentum you will achieve from clarifying and removing it will be huge for you.