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Asking Smart Questions Changes Everything

August 6th, 2018  | 

Published in Accountability

We live in a time when accountability is often sidelined. When it is, there can be disastrous consequences. In government, in politics, in the media—and in business. The antidote, I’ve found during my two decades as an accountability speaker and business consultant, is a thoughtful and persistent effort to infuse accountability into every objective, every task, every colleague-to-colleague and company-to-customer interaction. For the world-class companies that do this well, accountability isn’t an esoteric mandate handed down from senior leadership. Instead, it is a systemic root-to-tip effort that makes accountability an organic state of being that is cultivated on a daily basis by everyone within the organization. And believe it or not, it doesn’t take a Herculean effort. Accountability is easily nurtured by curiosity.

Simple questions are the seeds of accountability.  

As a writer and accountability speaker, I stress the importance of my Seven Pillars of Accountability™: character, unity, learning, tracking, urgency, reputation, evolving. Every member of an organization can build and strengthen accountability by asking fundamental questions related to these pillars. Ask your peers and colleagues. Ask your immediate supervisor and members of the senior leadership team. Their answers—along with your own—will create a blueprint for better performance.

Here are some starter questions to help you begin cultivating the mindset that builds accountability. You don’t have to be a management expert, accountability speaker or business guru to be a catalyst for excellence. The important thing is to begin the discovery process that fosters it.

Character

What does “living our core values” look like to you?

Does my behavior reflect the beliefs we stand for?

What is one thing I should start doing differently right now?

Unity

What are your key expectations for my position?

Am I delivering on what is expected of me?

What will happen if our organization fails to reach our objectives?

Learning

How can I be more effective within my role?

How does the organization intend to encourage my professional development and career growth?

What advice can you offer on ways I can move forward in my career?

Tracking

What key performance indicators should I be measuring in my position?

Is our organization tracking metrics to drive performance or to empower people?

What intangibles should I be considering that can impact tracking?

Urgency

Where is there room for greater excellence in my execution?

Am I overlooking an opportunity for incremental growth?

Are we simply “settling” in any areas of our organization?

Evolving

How can I better collaborate with colleagues?

What can I do to make the company more successful?

If I was fired today, what changes would my replacement make?

As an accountability speaker and consultant, I work closely with organizations to help them determine actionable steps to strengthen identified weaknesses and place them on an upward trajectory. I can tell you there isn’t a magic formula. It begins by figuring out the relevant questions, asking them, and acting on the answers. Accountability is a support system. You don’t have to be a member of the senior leadership team to initiate conversations that help accountability grow—within yourself and throughout your organization.

To inquire about engaging Greg as an accountability speaker or keynote speaker, creating custom workshop for your organization or discussing a strategic planning session, connect with him at 214.720.3707 or via email.

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, and he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents. His fifth leadership book — Decision Time: Leadership Lessons from History’s Greatest Moments — will be published in 2019 by Simple Truths.

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