A leadership development resource

from the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc.

Volume IV

Number 1

On the Horizon This Issue:

Better Results by Asking Better Questions
"How do I get the most out of my department?"  Or is there a better question?

Keynotes from the Institute
Do you have a company meeting coming up & need a fresh voice to motivate the troops?



  [Better Questions]  [Keynotes]  [The Institute Online] 


Better Results by Asking Better Questions

by Andy Kaufman

“How do I know?”

“Know what?” I ask.

“How do I know if I’m getting the most out of my department?”

The executive across from me is responsible for the Information Technology department of a growing, technology-driven organization. As the business has significantly scaled up, so have demands, and this leader is reflecting on what seems like a reasonable management question.


The best executives I’ve worked with over the years are known for asking good questions. Yet this is somewhat counter to management-as-usual. Too many managers think they have to be known for their answers. But it’s the questions that can make the difference between an efficient manager and an effective leader.

I despise the advice to “ask the right questions of the right people at the right time.” (see this past issue of Horizon Time). Similarly, I cringe a bit when I hear someone calling an inquiry the “wrong question”. Both phrases are over-used and typically over-simplify the issue.

"How do I know if I'm getting the most out of my department?"
Yet clearly some questions are more helpful than others, which brings us back to my client and his question. Rather than suggest his question is the right one or not, let’s consider if there are better questions.

For example, what are some potential risks of walking down the path of his question? What are a couple potential downsides of asking, “Am I getting the most out of my people?”

Your Turn

Take a couple minutes to jot down some potential downsides (I challenge you to make this an active exercise).

Did you think it through? Are you concerned I might be advocating complacency instead of productivity? Check out the January 20, 2005 entry in our Leadership in the Real World blog for more on this discussion.

Want to be a better leader? Ask better questions. Don’t miss the next newsletter issue when we take this executive’s question and consider better ones to ask.

To your success,

Andy Kaufman

Speaker, Author, Consultant

President, Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc.

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Keynotes from the Institute

Do you have an upcoming...

  • Offsite meeting
  • Leadership retreat
  • National sales meeting
  • Association meeting

... and need a fresh voice to challenge and motivate the troops? 

Contact the Institute today to learn how our keynotes can provide what one executive called "the perfect exclamation point on our national sales meeting!"

Our keynotes are customized to your needs.  Your organization will receive practical insights that help you achieve results.  And you'll have a lot of fun.

Click here to contact Andy Kaufman  to see how the Institute can make your meeting a tremendous success.

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Stay in Touch!

Horizon Time is written by Andy Kaufman and is available via e-mail or on the Web for all who register.  You are invited to forward this to anyone interested in growing their leadership skills!


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You can access past issues of Horizon Time by visiting www.i-leadonline.com/NewsletterIndex.asp.


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For more information on Andy Kaufman and the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc., please visit our web site.


You can contact Andy by phone toll-free at (866) 88 I-LEAD (866-884-5323), or by e-mail at andy@i-leadonline.com.

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Horizon Time contains hyperlinks to web sites operated by persons other than the Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development Inc. (I LEAD). Such hyperlinks are provided for your reference and convenience only, and I LEAD is not responsible for the content or operation of such web sites. A hyperlink from Horizon Time to another web site does not imply or mean that I LEAD endorses the content on that web site or the operator or operations of that site. You are solely responsible for determining the extent to which you may use any content at any other web sites to which you might link from Horizon Time.

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