Recently on my travels I heard a great story. An engineering company was turning over on average £10 million per year and one day the owner of the company had a massive heart attack and died.
His wife had never had anything to do with the company and no previous leadership experience, so as you can imagine everyone was worried what would happen to the company and their jobs. After the funeral, his wife went into the office and called all the Heads of Department together and spoke to them individually, one by one. During the meeting she asked them three questions:
- What are you doing?
- What is not working?
- What is working?
Over the next two years, she went back every six months and asked the Heads of Department the same questions. Within two years the company grew from £10 million to £25 million. She had no previous experience, yet she had the ability to ask great questions and allow the people to stop doing what no longer worked.
Four Lessons from the Three Hard Questions:
- Stop and Pause, ask yourself regularly the three hard questions.
- Give yourself and your staff permission to stop doing what no longer works.
- Ask yourself and your team the hard questions every day.
Listen to your staff.