Three Questions Executives Should Ask for the New Year

We're almost out of January, and a lot of the resolution stuff is wearing off so I am rushing to get this off my chest before it simply proves I am further behind the power curve than even I thought.

Question: Do you hate stuff that makes you think as much as I do? Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word, maybe feeling humiliated and embarrassed is more like it.

Well, I have to admit publically that when I read Melissa Raffone's blog post in the Conversation section of the online Harvard Business Review, I had one of those moments.

It's a great post, and it ends with posing three questions, the kind that make it hard to look in the mirror for most of us. That said, like most such questions, they are super insightful and well worth pondering in January or any other time. The kind of stuff that some of us would tape to the bathroom mirror even if it was hard to see each morning:
1. If there was only one thing I could do to improve my business, what would it be and how would I make it happen?

2. If there was only one thing I could focus on to improve my personal performance, what would that be and how would I make it happen?

3. What messages am I not listening to or refusing to confront in my business and personal performance and how am I going to overcome that this year?
As uncomfortable as it made me feel for not being able to come up with immediate answers (was I afraid to hear what I would say?) I was struck by how flexible these questions were in terms of both one's professional as well as personal lives, and it is in that spirit that I pass them along in case you might have missed the post.

A belated Happy New Year from those of us who are still trying to catch up with ourselves.

Views: 98

Comment by Randy Levinson on February 2, 2010 at 12:56pm
Thanks for posting this Dave. I guess that if I were a CEO these questions might make me a little squirmy, but not too much. But that might be because I can be overly reflective at times. The BIG questions I would be asking if I were a CEO in this economy is "How can I create more jobs? Put more people to work? Create more powerful consumers?"

To me these should lead in to your questions as well, but if we can get more people out in the market with more money to spend (and save of course) then I believe that CEO can feel personally responsible for making a difference.
Comment by Will Branning on February 2, 2010 at 1:29pm
I too, would rather put off thinking about such things but I know I'll miss out on some significant professional and business growth by doing so...


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