5 Common Questions Leaders Should Never Ask – Warren Berger – Harvard Business Review

It seems to suggest that everything has been thought of already, and that because something was tried once and didnt work, it should never be considered again. This fails to recognize that some ideas may have come up short in the past because of bad timing or poor execution, not because the idea itself was wrong. Better to ask, If we tried this now, what would be different this time and how might that change the results? Whats our iPad? The consultant Dev Patnaik of Jump Associates notes that some version of this question tends to be asked when a panicked boss reacts to a competitor introducing a hot new product. The leader turns to his or her staff and asks, in effect, Why havent you come up with something like that? Get cracking! The problem is, this question is leading people to be followersto think that their job is to imitate what the other guy is doing, as quickly as possible. Rather than put it in those imitative terms, its better to ask questions like: Why is our competitor having success with this product? What need is it satisfying? How might we use our particular strengths to do an even better job of meeting customers needs? Looking beyond this list of specific questions, there are other tests you can use to assess whether the question on the tip of your tongue is a good one. In general, a leader should avoid questions asked in a spirit of advocacy instead of inquiry, says Tim Ogilvie of the management consultancy Peer Insight.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/07/5-common-questions-leaders-should-never-ask/

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