Blog

7 Strategic Questions Your Team Should Be Able to Answer post image

I’ve never met an executive who said, “My team’s just too strategic. I just wish they would focus on the day-to-day work.” Nope. In fact it’s quite the opposite concern. “How do I get my team to think more strategically?” “Karin, I just don’t think anyone on this team is ready to take on my role…. and I can’t get promoted until I find a successor.” And the phone call of the week is, “These millennials just don’t seem to get it. There’s no long-term commitment. I don’t think they care. (PS: if this one sounds familiar, click here and scroll down to download my FREE e-book Mentoring in the Age of the Millennial.) I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, if your team is not thinking strategically don’t write them off, until you take a good look at what you’ve been sharing. It’s impossible to connect the dots if you only see a third of them. If you wait until everything’s fully baked to share it with the team, they’ll never learn to be bakers. Not sure where to start without going out-of-bounds? Start here with these 7 strategic questions, that won’t get you fired.

7 Strategic Questions Your Team Should Be Able to Answer

translator1. Why do we do what we do? Note: “to make money” is not the only answer. Dig deeper. I ask this question every time I go into a focus group. You would be surprised how few can articulate a compelling answer. Start here. Talk amongst yourselves. Challenge one another. I promise this is worth every minute of time spent not “doing work.” 2. How does our team’s work contribute to the company’s mission? This one’s more tricky. At the levels closest to the customer, it’s easy to feel like a bot, and that’s precisely where it’s most dangerous. 3. What do our customers really want? Your team knows. Write it down, and then be sure your policies and procedures align. 4. Who are our major competitors and what differentiates us in the market? My guess is that some of your team will be all over this and others won’t have a clue. Having the dialogue will offer great opportunites to explore perceptions and promote learning. 5. How does the way we do our work impact other departments? Some time spent here,  looking candidly from both directions, will save days (maybe weeks) of unproductive time. 6. How can we better articulate what we need to the departments we rely on? Make a short list and use it. 7. What’s the most important thing we’re working on and why? This one seems tricky, but it will open up a hornet’s nest… so why do we?  Resist the urge to blame others for stupidity. If something really feels stupid, have the managerial courage to lift up the concern. The best way to help your team to become more strategic, is to teach them to talk strategy. Imagine the possibilities if you were “that guy.”

Your turn. What are the strategic questions teams should be able to answer?
Filed Under:   #ResultsThatLast, Communication, Results & Execution
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers, AMA's 50 Leaders to Watch in 2015, & Top Thought Leader in Trust by Trust Across America. She’s the author of 2 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss.
 

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

Tish Romanchuk   |   28 October 2015   |   Reply

Hi Karin, How would you suggest addressing this question – 2. How does our team’s work contribute to the company’s mission? when your team is a HQ support team? I work for a big box retailer and my team supports the HR systems for the enterprise. We are removed from the day to day retail business and I have found it difficult to engage my team back to the company purpose/mission which is customer and retail focused. I have been following your blogs for a while now – love love love your advice, style and topics! Thank you for your consideration.
-Tish

Karin Hurt   |   02 November 2015   |   Reply

Tish, Thanks so much! Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been really busy with the launch of my new course. I have led teams in HQ support. First I think it’s VERY important that you have this discussion and they can map the specific programs and initiatives back to the the impact on the customers. If you they don’t map well, then that may be an important indicator as well.

I’d love to talk to you more about this. If you want to schedule some time to chat I’d be happy to. Please send me an email at karin.hurt@letsgrowleaders.com

Terri Klass   |   28 October 2015   |   Reply

Excellent questions Karin!

I think the key in strategic thinking is seeing how each person impacts the overall organization strategy. I often ask teams whether they are even familiar with a company’s vision, mission and core values. Once those are shared and understood, it is more manageable to see how each team folds into some of those.

Thanks!

Karin Hurt   |   02 November 2015   |   Reply

Thanks so much Terri, I agree that’s an excellent starting point.

0 0items

Your shopping cart is empty.

Items/Products added to Cart will show here.