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Lead With Questions, Not Answers

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The best leaders don’t need to have all of the answers. They ask the right questions.

There are three questions I always ask when meeting with teams:

  • What surprised you to the upside, and what did you learn that drove the upside versus expectations?
  • What surprised you to a downside, and what did you learn that caused the downside surprise?
  • What barriers are getting in the way of what you are trying to achieve?

The first two have to do with savoring the surprises that can often lead to breakthroughs. The third helps me understand where I can help the team be more successful.

Recently I asked serial entrepreneur Eric Ries what he thought the most important question for a leader to ask in a Lean Startup company or project. He answers in the clip below and also shares his best piece of advice for leaders.

Brad Smith

Intuit President and CEO Brad Smith has his head in the cloud. He’s the driving force behind Intuit’s transformation to connected services. When not spending time with his wife and two daughters, Smith plays the saxophone and guitar and practices karate. Don’t expect him to quit his day job. Follow him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @IntuitBrad

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