The demands on business leaders to deliver economic efficiency and effectiveness is ever increasing. In today’s often relentless, fast-paced environment, the ability to ask the right questions to ensure the right level of engagement when delivering change is an integral ingredient of success.
Why is this you may ask?
Without the ability to ask the right questions, information is just 'pushed' to the decision maker. The onus then falls on the provider to articulate not only the answer to a question, but also why that question was important in the first place.
Asking the right questions requires the decision maker to be brave, especially when it comes to asking questions they may not want to hear the answer to.
So why do so few businesses get it right?
- Many executives simply may not have experienced the level of change needed before in their career. As a result, they revert into their comfort zone of delving into operations rather than focussing on the strategic and big picture decisions.
- Often financial investment in the change agenda is typically not seen as a priority.
- Businesses can be far more responsive to investing in something tangible to aid in transformation, such as technology. Whereas it is often the key personnel that may need investing in first.
In the end, it comes down to education and having executive’s eyes opened to the deeper underlying problems that need resolving. Executive coaching and investing in leadership skills is very important. It requires executives to go on a journey to reach their own level of understanding and their own ability to challenge and ask the right questions.
This is where interims, consultants, and coaches can support in helping to create sustainability and engagement during change, as it can be helpful for someone outside the organisation to make this point as it may not be ‘heard’ if made internally.
Leaving a legacy of knowledge and skill behind can be more important than the delivery of the objective itself. Yes, you pay a premium for getting the skills and knowledge, but you are also making a long-term investment in your own people. This can take time and requires patience, but asking the right questions to find the underlying cause of “the need” rather than “the ask” is critical to ensure success.