Leadership and The Five Whys

Leaders have a lot of explaining to do. And sometimes, midst all the hurly burly of everyday leadership life, they miss some key questions that their followers have uppermost on their minds. Here are five of my favorites:

Q1: Where are we going?

Perhaps the most vital leadership question of all, this tells your followers that you have a vision of a desirable future. And you need to be quick in your answer. Make your answer provocative. By that I mean, your answer needs to provoke dialogue, which leads to the following question…

Q2: Why are we headed there?

The rationale for your vision is almost as important as the vision itself. But don’t get too long winded with your answer. If you can’t justify your vision with a 30 second sound bite, then go back to the drawing board. If you still have their attention at this stage, then the next three questions will arise…

Q3: What needs to change?

This is a tricky question, not just because you won’t have the answer, but because one of the answers will need to focus on how YOU personally need to change in order to succeed on your journey towards your vision.

Q4: What happens if we don’t change?

Yep, it’s happened before…a major change is initiated, people get excited (and some are terrified), then the whole thing fizzles out. Some experts on change tell us that up to 70% of change initiatives fail. That’s a ridiculously high number in my estimation, and it leaves a trail of devastation. This trail influences peoples’ attitudes to change in general, and each subsequent attempt at change gets coloured by these past failures.

Q5: What happens if we succeed?

Ah yes, to the victors go the spoils! You need to be very clear on the positive consequences of success. What’s in it for people? How will they benefit through a successful change initiative? Far too many leaders focus on the consequences of failure, and not enough on the benefits of success. You need to strike a balance between the two.

So that’s it – five key leadership questions you must be able to deal with to succeed as a leader – comments are open below if you wish to join the discussion, just scroll down…

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