In my leadership consulting practice over the past couple of decades I have found that helping leaders ask the right question gives them more powerful insight, direction, and clarity than providing what I think is the appropriate solution for their issues. Why is this so? Asking a great question, many times, focuses leaders on the right information, right analysis, or the needed decision-making framework to move their organization forward, or bring clarity to a lot of what seem to be random or disconnected issues they face at any one moment in time.
When I wrote my book, Christ-Based Leadership, I found that the organizing structure of some of the best business thinkers of our day centered on great, revealing questions. Here are a few examples:
- What is the truth of your ambition? Jim Collins asks this in Good To Great to separate level 4 leaders from level 5 leaders in organizations that want to be great, and not just good.
- Are we really a team? Pat Lencioni asks in his bestselling book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team to help understand what great teams look like
- What time is it in our organizational lifecycle? Ichdak Adizes asked in his great work on Corporate Lifecycles to understand the predictable stages and leadership traps in organizations.
- Do you play to people’s strengths so they can do their best? Marcus Buckingham asked to help supervisors bring out the best in employees in his bestselling book, First, break all the Rules.
I also found that these questions lead directly back to the wisdom of the Bible because many of the answers these authors give are parallel with the teachings of the Scriptures, in their cases, on ambition, talents, seasons of life, trust and honesty with people.
As we have discussed in previous posts, perhaps the greatest game-changer reality for business today is the interconnection revolution and its social offshoots that is transforming every aspect of business. This interconnectedness has changed the best metaphor for organizations away from machines or even top down hierarchies depicted in the Egyptian pyramid structures to the metaphor of the network and living systems that are best understood in the human body metaphor supported by the digital nervous system constructed over the last several decades.
This coming year, Justin and I are going to be going back to some of the central questions that leaders and managers ask in their organizations and ask how these questions have changed dramatically because of the new interconnected reality. We will also help frame these critical decision-making insights through the lens of the Body of Christ and the metaphor of living systems that is critical for businesses to understand how to organize, lead, and strategically plan for the future.