There is wisdom in asking questions. This idea is based on the premise that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to give proper guidance without asking the proper questions.
Boards that create extraordinary value design an environment that encourages rich dialog. By asking astute questions, board members heighten their effectiveness in numerous ways. Four of the key ways include:
1. Improved Decision-Making and Strategic Planning
By bringing knowledge and constructive engagement to the process, board members enhance decision making and strategic planning.
2. Drawing out Intellectual Capital
Asking questions enables board members to draw out intellectual capital, including performance-enhancing ideas and strong support for corporate best practices.
3. Establishing Ambitious but Realistic Goals
Board members can establish high, realistic standards for themselves, as well as ambitious, measurable and carefully articulated goals for senior management by asking astute questions.
4. Empowering and Energizing the Team
Asking questions energizes the leadership team by empowering and holding management accountable for operating within a high-performance framework.
History continually provides examples of leaders who failed to ask questions. Behind this evidence is the inability to face reality. Organizations often work under a distorted sense of reality. In today’s world of change, it is even more important for competitive advantage to evolve from telling to asking. Knowledge transfer is at a premium, and asking questions gets at the heart of this. Uncertainty and turmoil can cause default behavior that looks to find the right answer rather than cultivate an openness to inquire and explore options.