The Essential Skill
Find the right questions. You don't invent the answers, you reveal the
How does a leader know which direction to go?
A great leader maps a course with others, gathering ideas and opinions.
What is the secret to making a deal?
A great negotiator creates breakthroughs by being curious.
Why are some workers highly valued for creativity?
Rising stars discover new ways to solve old problems.
Top leaders, negotiators, and creators are often the men and women who master the art of asking questions. After fifteen years of producing television and radio interviews of many of America's top political and business leaders, I've observed that they all share a desire and an ability to find needed information. These leaders know that questions take many forms, that they can be as precise as a needle pinpointing an important fact or as blunt as a sledgehammer forging change in an organization's direction.
Many achievers early in their careers find that making the right impression depends on the quality of questions they ask. They understand that, no matter what the situation, questions guide our lives. In the business world, where information is the critical commodity, questions filter out noise while focusing on the essential. To use the vocabulary of the day, the most powerful search engines available are other people. No computer is needed to find life-changing answers—just the right question.
For businesses navigating today's rush of commerce, questions are the rudder that gives direction. To survive, businesses must create a positive questioning culture and turn away from strict command-and-control structure. Leadership that constantly looks at its business from a questioning point of view creates a questioning culture. Such inquiry is not a