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Distinctive Questions, Distinctive Impacts

August 9, 2015

The questions you consistently ask reflect your values and mental habits. Noticing what they tend to focus on helps you create the impacts that mean the most to you.

question-mark-63981_640For example, three questions we asked at family dinners continue to shape my work life:

What did you learn?

Learning is at the heart of innovation and leadership. It’s an empowerment muscle that literally everyone can flex, stretch and strengthen. Paying attention to what you’re learning reinforces new insights, and your capacity as a curious and continuous learner.

How did you help?

Consistently finding ways to give more than we take ensures we live a life of contribution. Every job provides opportunities to help others, and leadership is a distinctly personal act of service. If we’re known by the contributions we make, what kind of wake are you creating?

What was fun?

Sometimes achievement-oriented leaders need to remember to enjoy the ride – and help others do the same. A sense of accountability and the demands of challenging jobs can overshadow the moments that make it all worthwhile. Regular doses of fun improve learning, creativity, generosity, and energy. Sharing what you’re enjoying gives you an opportunity to savor “the good stuff.”

Great questions are everywhere. I’ve heard leaders with distinctive impacts asking SSG questions like:

  • How can we do less but better?
  • How will we know this change is an improvement?
  • What’s another way to look at this?
  • Why is what’s working working so well?
  • What’s most important over the long run?
  • Whose perspectives can we tap into?
  • Where’s the opportunity in this mess?

Your awareness of what your questions consistently focus on can be as powerful as the actual questions. So, what questions are you asking most often? And what questions do you want to be known for asking?

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