6 Questions for Business Leaders to Answer
In every organization leaders must project confidence and authority in all aspects of their company. Employees depend on their leadership to guide and provide them with answers about the organization’s goals and direction.To help impart confidence into his or her team members, I’ve narrowed down the top six questions for business leaders to ask him or herself.
1) What does all of this mean?
This is the most vital question for business leaders to ask. Basically, it encompasses everything from what the corporation stands for, what is its basic purpose and what is the corporate culture. Every business leader should be able to answer this question thoroughly and succinctly, as it indicates that you have a good grasp on your business purpose and focus.
2) What’s next?
Being able to pinpoint your company goals going forward is critical to keep employees’ confident in your leadership abilities as well as giving them the guideposts for the future. When you say what’s next, it’s not just having a three-year vision or story; what’s next could just be what’s the next step.
3) What must we change?
You may not be going down the same road as before or you may be trying something new and different. Either way, the chances are there’s something you have to do differently. Knowing when and what to change is critical to keeping your business from growing stagnant.
4) What do we need to learn?
Just as a shark dies if it stops moving, so a company will die if its leadership stops learning and growing. Once you have pinpointed what you need to change (question three) you will have a roadmap pointing you in the right direction of what you need to learn. I believe it is irresponsible—even dangerous—to believe that the same old skills are the ones that you are going to need in the future to even survive. One of my standard lines on stage is this: “Organizational improvement is impossible with unimproved people.”
5) What do we need to measure?
Southwest Airlines implemented the 25-minute gate rule as measurable criteria for performance. When a plane arrives on a jet way, everybody knows they have 25 minutes to turn the plane. That’s their core score. Pilots have 25 minutes, the flight attendants have 25 minutes, the gate attendants have 25 minutes, the baggage handlers—all the different departments have one score. That builds teamwork so it’s incredibly important to figure out what we need to measure. Setting a core score, or a measurable performance outcome goal, is a great way to keep employees on the same page and performing to the same set standards.
6) How do we celebrate?
Celebrating your employees’ accomplishments, both large and small, is so important to company morale. Federal Express has an unusual method for celebrating achievement: the Banana Award. Many years ago, a young man came into a FedEx manager’s office when they were just starting and he had done a phenomenal work. Whatever it was, he went way above and beyond the call of duty and his manager was looking for a way to reward him. When he looked for something to reward him with, all he could find was a banana. He gave the guy the banana and said, “Hey, have a banana; thank you!” To this day, Federal Express still has the Banana Award for great achievement. Celebrating your employees builds momentum and loyalty to your organization.
Being a great business leader hinges on being able to effectively answer these six questions. Each of the key questions has a direct impact on the other five; they go hand in hand toward building success. Begin today by answering these questions and watch your employees’ confidence skyrocket.