Quick Questions for Leaders
One of the best ways to start your week is to read Bill Taylor’s concise leadership advice on HarvardBusiness.org, The 10 Questions Every Change Agent Must Answer. I first found this on BusinessWeek.com as Change-Agent Checklist. Taylor, author of Mavericks at Work and co-founder of Fast Company magazine, provides a neat conceptualization of how leaders should be thinking about their companies, and their personal self-development, in these still-scary times. He points out that we can’t control markets or current events, but we can think about our situations in new ways and figure out how companies can differentiate themselves. The questions are deceptively simple and speak to how we can find new opportunities, new ideas, new contributions from employees and crucially, new customers. Leaders, in his view, should ponder whether or not customers care about you and your company, and what would happen to those customers if your company disappeared. He also comes down on the side of focusing on your most important customers, even if it means ignoring others. Finally, he reminds leaders to never stop learning. “How do you push yourself as an individual,” Taylor asks, “to keep growing and evolving — so that your company can do the same?” The list of questions is not from original research, but it is a handy synthesis and analysis referencing such disparate sources as the psychologist Jerome Bruner, Albert Einstein, Marcel Proust, Gary Hamel and Jim Collins. A big takeaway for me is that the future belongs to eclectic, reflective thinkers who can translate the most relevant thoughts into meaningful actions.