Ask a Powerful Question
Leaders love nothing more than taking action. Multiply that tendency for teams of leaders!
Have you ever been in a meeting of leaders where the group is picking up momentum, barreling faster and faster toward an action decision that doesn’t make sense to you?
I seem to have been there many times, during both my corporate career and my consulting work. In my experience, it happens most often when the group isn’t truly aligned on what they want.
I’d love to say I’ve become a master at producing some magical verbal wisdom at just the right moment to redirect the group in a more productive direction. Alas, what actually happens to me in that setting is I get completely discombobulated.
In fact, that feeling of discombobulation has become my red flag that there’s an invisible elephant in the room.
Along the way I stumbled on a strategy that works every time. And I’ve found it helps the group more than any eloquence on my part ever could.
I’ve learned to simply ask,
“Can we step back for a moment? What are we really trying to accomplish here?”
It works so well that one of my former CEOs told me, “Lorri, your superpower is identifying when the group isn’t aligned, and then helping the leader figure out strategies to get them back in alignment.” (Honestly, until he said that I’d always thought of those situations as my Kryptonite!)
Inviting the group to pause by asking a powerful question can be transformative. When you do so, you add value by:
- Helping the team cut through the noise to reach clarity
- Encouraging thoughtful reflection and bigger thinking
- Fostering open dialog for better communication
- Empowering the collective problem-solving capabilities of the group
I encourage you to reflect on a question that has made a difference in your own career. And the next time you need one in a pinch, feel free to borrow mine!