Some people are planners and some people are opportunists. Each approach has its merits and challenges. Neither one guarantees success by itself. We usually plan for good outcomes and try to avoid poor ones. But many times unplanned situations come up, both for the better and worse.
Has an opportunity ever come up that was even better than your carefully laid plans?
Sometimes when I meet with a leader of a team or a department, I’ll ask a question about priorities that usually raises an eyebrow or two. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the ones who can answer it usually seem to be on top of things a lot more than the ones who draw a blank. Why don’t you give it a shot? Here it is:
What is your process for determining which projects get priority and which ones either get saved for later or dumped altogether?
If you’ve read this blog for long (or even if you haven’t), you’ve probably noticed there is an awful lot to think about when it comes to leadership. If you go to the bookstore or do an Internet search, the number of resources is pretty much endless.
With all that is available, have all the bases been covered?
What is one thing people often miss when it comes to leadership?
Carolyn Jessop said that “at some point nearly everyone, no matter what [their] situation, has to face change that is terrifying and overwhelming.” That means no one is immune to change or that it isn’t sometimes frightening.
What’s the scariest change you’ve ever faced? How did you respond to it?
Actor Will Smith once said, “If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready.”
What is one thing you prepared for long in advance that was a long time in coming? Did it pay off? What are you preparing for now?
Dale Carnegie‘s 4th principle for becoming a friendlier person is, “become genuinely interested in other people.” Carnegie explained it like this: “I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish.”
Take a moment to think of someone important to you (e.g. boss, spouse, customer, etc.).
What is one thing he or she wants that may not be particularly important to you?
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” If Emerson was right, that means you and I are “experts” at something compared to some people.
What is one area you are an expert in – i.e. if people have questions, they should consult with YOU? (Don’t be humble, own up to your expertise!)
The late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say, “You’ll be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”
Who is one person you’ve met and one book you’ve read in the past year that has had a positive influence on you?
We’ve all received lots of advice over the years, especially when we were young or starting out on a new project or a new season of life. Some of us may still get loads of advice, whether we ask for it or not.
What’s one piece of advice that’s stuck with you through the years? What’s the key to giving great advice?
English writer Samuel Johnson once said that “The applause of a single human being is of great significance.”
Who is one person who has applauded you in a significant way?
Everyone has development experiences throughout their life and career outside of formal training programs (school, professional certifications, etc.) that impact the way they perform as a person, professional, and a leader.
What’s one of the richest leadership development experiences you’ve ever had and how has it helped shape your leadership ability?
Most people begin the new year with a new set of goals or resolutions.
What is one of your professional goals for the new year? Personal?