Five Questions & One Resolution for the New Year


One of the frailties shared by human beings and organizations – the latter, of course, being made up of the former – is a proclivity to get stuck in endless do-loops of “urgent” activity, while losing sight of what’s really important.

Many of our classic New Year’s resolutions – spend more quality time with loved ones, eat better, exercise more – are intended to help us focus on what’s truly important in our personal lives.

But what about our professional lives?  What is the organizational equivalent of those personal New Year’s resolutions?  What will help us focus on what’s most important while helping to stop the urgent activity do-loop?

Here are five questions designed to help you shift your work toward what’s truly important:

1.  If I had 15 minutes on the agenda of my organization’s Board of Directors, what would I choose to do with the time?

2.  How could my organization become more worthy of the best efforts of our employees, the loyalty of our customers, and the ongoing support of our investors?

3.  Is my organization investing its time and resources in the most important areas?

4.  What aspects of the “accepted wisdom” in my organization are actually limiting our opportunities or even putting us at risk?

5.  Most importantly, what do I need to do to determine the answers to the four questions above?

Building on those questions, here’s our suggestion for a really powerful (and achievable!) “professional” New Year’s resolution: this year, seek to ask and learn how to answer powerful questions.

This is a resolution with real win-win-win potential – it can enhance your career, boost your organization’s performance, and leave you with more time and energy to keep your personal New Year’s resolutions.

(This post was sent this month via email to our monthly newsletter subscribers.  Click here if you’d like to subscribe.)

12 Questions to Enhance Your Career, Part 2


As noted in last month’s newsletter, among our clients, the “better question folks” enjoy disproportionate success.  A key to career success often involves taking a step back and assessing things from a different perspective than many of your colleagues.

The first of the eight questions we proposed last month was the following: “If I were offered the opportunity, would I invest any of my personal assets in my organization?”  If your answer to this question ranged somewhere between “Not so sure” and “You’ve got to be kidding me,” here’s a set of questions for your consideration:

1.  What is it about your organization that makes it a poor choice for investors?

2.  What would it take to turn this situation around?

3.  What role can your department (or function, location, etc.) play in improving the attractiveness of your company to investors?

4.  What does this suggest about the measures and analysis you should be providing to your CEO, Board of Directors, and investors, that would help move your organization in the right direction?

And consider this bonus question: Given your answers to all 12 proposed questions, what role can you play in improving the attractiveness of your company to investors?  Consider possible options for how you might take that path in the days and weeks ahead.  (And if your answer is “none” then you are either working in a hopeless situation, or you have become complacent.  In either case, a change of scenery may be in order.)

(This post was sent this month via email to our monthly newsletter subscribers.  Click here if you’d like to subscribe.)

12 Questions to Enhance Your Career, Part 1


In our work with clients, we’re always struck by the power of asking the right questions – and the benefits that accrue to those who ask them.  These “better question folks” tend to be up-and-comers who are well-positioned (regardless of job title) to garner important influence in their organizations.

If you’d like to be one of these people – able to guide organizational conversations with better questions – here are three initial questions for you to consider:

1.  If I were offered the opportunity, would I invest any of my available personal assets in my organization?  (If yes, then continue to the following questions.  If no, then you’ll definitely want to read Part 2, which will appear in our October newsletter.)

2.  What are the primary strengths of my organization that would lead me to invest?

3.  What are the risks I would be most concerned about as an investor?

Then, what do your specific answers to questions 2 and 3 suggest to you about the following:

4.   The key strategic directions your organization should be pursuing?

5.   How you should be spending your time as an employee?

6.   Your career trajectory?

7.   What your department should be doing differently?

8.   The measures and analysis you should be providing to your CEO, Board of Directors and investors?

Why think along these lines?  Truth be told, whether or not you actually invest personal financial assets, you’re already making a huge investment: the scarce resource of your time.  Thinking like the investor that you are can lead to asking more powerful questions.  The answers to those questions will help guide your organization – and enhance your career.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this discussion.


(This post was sent this month via email to our monthly newsletter subscribers.  Click here if you’d like to subscribe.)

Ranking companies’ worthiness


As part of our work on The Worthiness Era, we’re developing a quantitative “Worthiness Ranking” system which we expect to apply to every firm in the Fortune 100 (this will allow us to “name names” among our largest corporations, both positively and negatively). 

In calculating this score, we’ll evaluate each company’s behavior in five different realms:

  • Employer
  • Customer focus
  • Sustainability
  • Absence of greed
  • Contribution

Whenever possible, we’re planning to use publicly-available information as the source for each of the five indicators that combine to yield a company’s “Worthiness” score. 

In future blog entries, we’ll explore some of the details of each of the five indicators.  (In the meantime, let us know if it looks like we’ve missed any major categories.)