The Leader's Question

stock image of four people brainstorming

Dave Crumrine | January 12, 2024

I recently spent some time working with a couple of groups of leaders on the topic of change. During our discussion, I found myself frustrated by their unwillingness to look at a certain issue from a different angle. Both groups had been highly successful for quite some time, and I could tell they were feeling discouraged and dispirited at being asked to consider doing something differently.

Before things could get too far off the rails, a somewhat newer member of the group asked, “What happens if we don’t make any changes?” The wisdom in asking this question, precisely at the right time, was amazing. After some engaging discussion, the historically successful group had to admit that they were actually noticing things slip, and that it was much more difficult to maintain their typical high bar these days. They followed that up with, “The world is different now,” and, “The next generation doesn’t see things or do things like we did.” As they came to these realizations and looked at the problem from this new point of view, they admitted it was time for a change. They knew their inability or refusal to try a new perspective was their own problem to solve.

There is a significant risk in “sticking to what we have always done.” Some would caution us to be careful and say that we need to hold on to our core values. I agree. However, I would also say that most of us cling too tightly to our traditional ways of doing things. We like comfort, even when it doesn’t serve us, our organization, or our clients. What typical “practice” do you need to question? This is the leader’s question to ask, and it’s an essential one. Do your team a favor; ask it today.