Monday, November 3, 2014

4 Great Questions to Ask When Preparing to Lead

Did you ever notice what all experts do?  

They make the complex seem so easy.

This is no coincidence:  top performers (in all disciplines) share a commitment to preparation.

The best leaders consistently prepare.

That's obvious enough:  but what do they do to prepare? 

Here’s a tool that that you can use:  PREP

An acronym for:


This month, we’ll focus on Plan

There are 4 essential questions leaders need to ask to plan effectively:  

1.  What outcomes do you want to achieve? 

Start with the end in mind.  Are you there to inform, inspire, teach, listen, educate?  What would “success” for you look like?  What would “success” for them look like?  By knowing your end goal, you can adjust on the fly to make sure you head in the right direction.

2. If I stepped into their shoes, what would I feel? 

What do they want?  How do they feel?  What else is going on for them? 
If you don’t know, arrange to speak some of them in advance, so that you get their insights first hand.  Live or voice to voice is much more effective for gathering this information than email.

3.  What do they expect from your leadership?   

Are they excited?  Are they prisoners?  

Yes, you think  you're wonderful, and so does your mother.  But what's the reality for the people you'll be leading?  

4.  What barriers might get in the way of you connecting with them?   

What objections might come up?  What assumptions are they holding?  What assumptions are you holding?  Great leaders make implicit expectations explicit. What context setting might you need to do before you dive into your content?

Once you are clear on the answers to these questions, build your leadership agenda from their frame of reference, not yours.  Great leaders know it’s not about me.  It’s about them.

Plan accordingly.

Next month, we’ll explore the next piece of the PREP acronym:  R: Rehearse.

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