Asking the Right Questions

Ask the Right Questions at the Right Time

Great leaders ask the right questions at the right time. While great leaders are better at this than others, there is no magic to asking the right questions. By focusing on serving the organization, one can position themselves to identify the right questions at the right time. Below are some tactics that may help you serve the organization and ask the right questions:


1. Active Listening
It all begins with listening first. The meeting multitasker often misses key concepts and asks the dumb question. The person that actively listens, repeating back what they hear to ensure comprehension, is best positioned to ask the right questions.

2. Speak Your Mind
If you have a burning question and you’ve been actively listening, it’s likely others have the same question. Whether you’re right, wrong or simply asking for clarity, you are where you are for a reason and the team is counting on you to speak your mind.

3. Timely
Asking the right question at the wrong time is useless. If you have a concern or issue to raise, be timely in raising it. Waiting for the perfect moment or every detail to evolve may be too late.

4. Owner
When in doubt, ask yourself, “if I was the sole proprietor of this organization, how would I respond to this investment / topic?” Would you be happy about it? Or would it keep you up at night worrying about an adequate Return On Investment?

5. Independent
Remember all those great questions and ideas you had when you first joined the organization? Go back to that time and clear your head of all the methods in which you’ve “conformed” to your organization’s way of doing things. What would you challenge? Challenge them now.

6. Customer
If you were the customer or end consumer, what would you think of the project or matter at hand? Would it excite you or make you take your business elsewhere?

Of course, I need ways to remember tactics like these. So, if you’re like me, the next time you’re in a meeting and trying to find the right questions, just remember: A STOIC (Active listening, Speak your mind, Timely, Owner, Independent & Customer) individual remains calm and asks those great questions.

Question: When did the right question at the right time, save you, your project or your team from making a big mistake?