50 posts 50 rules: Tom Peters on Leadership 30

30. But leaders have to deliver, so they worry about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I love Peter’s argument here, the cognitive dissonance between the need for execution order and systems with the need for creative destruction and rebirth. Holding these two opposing needs in one’s mind can be incredibly difficult. A leader must be able to produce results all the while dreaming up ways to produce results in completely different ways.How can we do this? Now there is a question. Look for game changing answers to the right question. Do you remember in the movie I Robot when Professor Landon’s hologram could only respond to specific preprogrammed questions. He would say “ I am sorry my responses are limited, you must ask the right question”Questions are powerful when used effectively. Ask how to make a process easier for the employees if your goal is to make it faster. Ask why we need specific resources in the first place if your goal is to reduce costs.Ask what barriers or frustrations are in the way if your goal is to improve productivity or quality.Ask how a process can be automated, eliminated, transformed.The key here is to ask the right open ended question Challenge:Ask your team each of the first three questions over the next 1-3 weeks. Don’t ask number four without careful consideration of who is in the audience and how they might receive such a risky question. Do we need to talk about emotional intelligence again? Explain that you are interested in learning how to improve things. Do not commit to doing everything, only to evaluate the suggestions and to implement those that make sense in the short term.

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