Archive for September, 2013

Four Terrifying Questions

Posted in A Note to Directors, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on September 24, 2013 by RobALott

I don’t know exactly where these questions originated. I read them on a friend’s blog a number of years ago and adopted them for my own use rather immediately.

Asking these questions is not for the faint of heart. The answers can be quite scary. But they can also be uplifting and challenging in a great way. They will absolutely help you to further lean into your strengths as well as identify some blind spots.

I use these questions most often after I’ve completed a major project. I’ll circle back with the people I worked with most closely and ask them to answer these four questions specifically in regard to me and our shared project.

I’ve also used them as a personal year end review. I’ll ask the questions of those I am closest to and whom I most trust to give feedback in an honest and kind way.

A few best practices and words of warning from my experience using these questions:

Send the questions out in writing, but accept the answers in any format.

Do not allow anonymous responses. Truth and honesty erode quickly with the allowance of anonymity. Therefore, anonymous responses are rarely helpful and should not be read or heard. Make this clear, and give an easy system for your people to make themselves known.

They should answer all the questions completely. No picking and choosing which questions to answer. Improvements can not be made if the truth is not looked at from all sides.

And now, the four questions.

What am I currently doing that you feel I do well and should continue doing?

What am I currently doing that you feel I don’t do well and should stop doing?

What am I not currently doing that you feel I could do well?

Have I said or done anything to you that has hurt you or in any way hindered the potential of our relationship?

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Limiting Your Potential — A Sincere Word of Warning

Posted in A Note to Directors, Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on September 17, 2013 by RobALott

Guard yourself from the notion that your way is the right way and only way. Or that the way you’ve always done it is the way you’ll always do it.

I know this sounds so obvious. And of course, as creative artists we would never hang our hat on the notion that we’ll never try something in a new way, or that we’ll never allow room for improvement.

And yet, sometimes our actions can say otherwise.

As leaders we are expected to run into dark places without a map and proclaim “Follow me!” Meanwhile, our followers can’t seem to stop asking questions and suggesting new paths.

Don’t you wish they would all just be quiet and stop questioning every plan?

Don’t you just wish?

Of course not.

Of course we don’t.

And yet, sometimes our actions say that we do.

“Leaders who refuse to listen will eventually be surrounded by people with nothing important to say.” -Andy Stanley

How are you guarding yourself from the notion that your way is the only way?

Are you giving your team time to discuss and wrestle with an issue for which you may already have an answer?

Are you allowing for the possibility that what your team comes up with might be different than what you think should happen?

Are you allowing for the possibility that your way or your idea may have been wrrrr…wrong?

Are you allowing your team the opportunity to scrap what they’ve been doing for so long and to start doing something completely new or different?

Doing Is Good. Done Is Better.

Posted in A Note to Directors, Thoughts on Leadership on September 14, 2013 by RobALott

Great leadership will always require sacrifice.

Sure. It’s good to encourage your team by saying, “I’d never ask you to do something I wouldn’t do.”

However, it’s better to assure them by saying, “I’d never ask you to do something I haven’t already done myself.”

By the way, if you say either one, it’ll help a lot if it’s true.