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Seventeen years ago I started LifeQues with a clear purpose: send it every week, make it short and easy to read and, most importantly, add genuine value to my friends, clients, colleagues, suppliers, supporters and anyone who showed interest. It’s been a labour of love. I’ve appreciated your feedback and your “How did you know what I needed this week?!” comments.

Question:

What have you learned, how have you grown, what new idea or perspective or approach has come to you as a result of this weekly question? Comment to share with us your insight.

And to end with a challenge: how do you add value free of charge to the people in your orbit?

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Great mentors share how they think not teach people what they do. That’s why I recommend future-focussed individuals find a mentor in an outside industry. That gives the mentee a chance to learn how a seasoned leader approaches things: the introduction of new services, how they lead stars and manage under-performers, how they plan, how they execute, how they balance staying focussed with acting with agility. The impact of that is much greater than hearing war stories from the same company or industry.

Question:

Where will you find a mentor who grows how you think rather than helps what you do? How will you encourage your up-and-comers to find mentors who challenge their abilities as decision-makers not just teach them ways to do things? In what completely different industry will you find a rising star that will benefit from your experience?

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“We promote from within.” For most companies, that’s a mantra. But, what I’ve found it means is that the firm hires good people and then crosses its metaphorical fingers that the employee will gain the skills, the wherewithal and the desire for a bigger role. Promoting from within is not an intention, it’s merely a hope.

Question:

What changes when you hire young employees with a clear sense of the role they will have in the organization ten years from now? How will you train them now? How will you encourage them, challenge them, resource them? Sure, the ten year path may twist and turn but, what’s different for everyone when the intention is on the table from Day One? What’s the payoff for you?

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Five years ago most of us had plans to grow our leadership ability and capacity. Are we meeting our expectations?

Question:

Do you expect more or less of yourself than you did five years ago – longer or shorter hours, greater span of control or less, higher trust in people and processes or less? Has your response time increased or decreased – when adapting to shifting surroundings, when moving through setbacks, when bringing new products to market? What do you hope be different five years from now; how will you plan it into being?

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We’ve all seen this in our meetings. Some people will begin speaking and keep talking until something valuable comes out of their mouth; they engage their minds with their mouths open. Then there are others who remain silent until they have something meaningful to contribute; the consequence is often times those perspectives never hit the table because the conversation has moved ahead too quickly.

Question:

How will you design and conduct your meetings to maximize the contributions of all of your team members….even the thinkers and/or the introverts? What will you do to ensure no good perspective is left unconsidered?

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Watching the tech firms introduce new products is exciting. It’s cool to see that they’ve figured out what we’ll need (or at least what we’ll want) before we even know it ourselves. And they make it come alive! Each of us needs to watch for that in our our sphere – we could easily get beat by folks who are thinking about what our customers will need tomorrow, next year, five years from now and beginning to design, even engineer, those solutions today.

Question:

How much time will you set aside to think about what your customers will need/want five years from now? When….specifically? Who will you get to join you in those conversations? How will you follow up? How often? Honestly, how will your organization’s offerings be different in 2022?