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The 6 not-so-big questions to build your business, develop your team, and cultivate your future leaders

by Kevin D. Crone

June 27, 2016
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There is no doubt that things just aren’t the same anymore. In recent years, the entire structure of business has changed, all over the world. As a result, business people have had to find ways to survive, be frugal, stay together, hang in there. Understandably, business leaders may be reluctant to aggressively address enormous strategic and big-picture questions. Change is too much work, and it’s impractical to focus on adapting to a complex and confusing world – so let’s not, right now.

For the moment, let’s be tactical and operational and aim at fixing and improving things. This is where our day-to-day world pulls us. We basically want more revenue, and we need to stay within budgets. Let’s focus on the present and see what happens.

Let’s start by relying on some age-old, simple principles such as the importance of problem solving, and motivating people to execute. To get to this tried-and-true stuff, just answer these straightforward questions one at a time, in order. Here is a great conversation to have with yourself or team.

  1. What are the strengths of our organization? (2 minutes – Please think and write)
  2. What are the changes affecting our business right now? (2 minutes)
  3. What are the challenges these changes present to me and my team?
  4. What does our team need to do to meet these challenges?
  5. What systems, habits, and skills need to be improved?
  6. What do we need to do to build our people, our management and future leaders?

Where do we need to get better?

Now, that wasn’t too time-consuming – and you almost certainly made note of a few things you need to improve.

We have literally asked these questions of client teams in 90-minute team meetings, thousands of times. Generally everyone (including management) get a more realistic perspective when each person in the team answers these questions, one at a time. Management is usually surprised by the engagement, energy and quality of everyone’s answers, and it helps the leadership determine what needs to be done and why, who is willing to step up and improve, and who they should look at cultivating for the future.

This conversation is a great momentum tool in fixing the business, engaging a team perspective, and building future leaders. I would suggest that you get outside help. You’re probably too close to have an objective point of view on your situation, partly because your mind is probably made up about things, which can block your view. An outsider can get people to talk honestly and be open. It’s not that costly – especially if it works.

Now is the time to re-energize your team. Get them focused and generate momentum.

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  • Finish answering the above questions. Concentrate on one at a time. The answers will lead you to some good insights and productive actions.
  • Engage your team in the same conversation. Let everyone talk. Record the discussion, listen to it, and see what occurs to you.

We would be happy to facilitate this conversation for your team. Let us know how we can be of help.

Have a great week!

Kevin D. Crone
Chairman, Dale Carnegie Business Group
kdcrone@dalecarnegie.ca or 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032

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