Archive for the ‘Intuition’ Category

The Right Questions

Ten times a year I give myself the gift of a day of developing my business skills. As part of a fantastically powerful group called Association of Business Leaders (ABL), I have the benefit of being able to focus entirely on my business issues for a day, and share current issues, problems and suggestions with other members.

The impact of this peer coaching is surprisingly powerful given that the members are not professional coaches. What we are tapping into is the shared experiences and perspectives of a group of highly motivated people who understand the pressures of building a business. Although the industries, business sizes and specific expertise of every member is different, the common thread is the willingness to share knowledge, support a fellow member, and help each other grow in capability, and profitability. This is powerful stuff and every one of us is loathe to miss a single day despite our heavy pressures.

Our speaker this morning was Anne Miller, a highly knowledgeable and enormously talented author, inventor and entrepreneur from Cambridge. Anne has recently published her first book, The Myth of the Mousetrap, in which she unravels some of the critical barriers to getting new ideas adopted. For anyone attempting to build an innovative business, Anne’s book is an essential management tool.

It turns out, we learned from Anne today, that its really important, when gathering information to back up a hunch, or provide data as the basis of an important decision – to ask the right questions. So often, we miss some critical nugget of knowledge just because we forget to ask some of the more obvious questions. Anne’s example of NASA’s Challenger disaster is a poignant reminder of at least one instance where this critical step wasn’t included, with devastating results.

Clearly, in most situations, the consequence of asking the wrong questions (or omitting the right questions) isn’t catastrophic. But even in our discussion of business issues during our ABL sessions, effective questions provide greater clarity in the least amount of time.

Consider your teams and your organisation’s culture. Do you encourage lots of questions? Do you focus on asking the right questions to get the whole picture?

Ask yourself those questions.

Trust your intuition

At the recent Cambridge HR Summit we treated the delegates to a couple of sessions of glorious song from Collegium Regale – the choral scholars of King’s College. It was a slightly ‘out there’ decision to take, given that there wasn’t any obvious link between the choir and the conference theme (aside from the fact that both live in Cambridge).




Some people had expected to hear classical choral music and feared it would be rather dry. Most people couldn’t work out why the choir was on the programme – that was until they heard the first piece. And then they ‘got it’!




The choir picked just the right pieces from their repertoire. The post-lunch session ended with an uplifting rendition of ‘New York, New York’ which sent delegates back into the afternoon’s learning sessions with energy and bounce.




Absolutely the best comment I had was, “…the choir is fantastic! It’s like a palate cleanser for the brain”. Perfect. That’s just what we wanted from them.




Do something completely different next time you’re planning an event, meeting or away day. Our instincts told us that the choir would make the event memorable and would provide delegates with something completely different from the workshops they were attending.Go with your gut reaction.