We Vistage chairs often talk about the importance of staying curious, of asking questions. Often as leaders we tell ourselves that the only “cost” of being directive vs. asking questions are soft costs. For example, we make assumptions that are wrong and have to start over when we learn we are headed in the wrong direction.
What about the hard costs of heading in the wrong direction?
What about when we as leaders, march into a new area, or start a new initiative, everyone follows, and we are headed in the wrong direction? Money is invested and then we have to start over. If only we had asked a few questions up front, we tell ourselves afterwards, the price tag associated with the failure might have been avoided.
This TED talk, titled simply, “If you want to help someone, shut up and listen!”, by Ernesto Sirolli, brings this point home in a global way. Ernesto Sirolli is a noted authority in the field of sustainable economic development and is the Founder of the Sirolli Institute, an international non-profit organization that teaches community leaders how to establish and maintain Enterprise Facilitation projects in their community.
What does this talk have to do with leadership? A lot.
What does it have to do with business? I’ll let you decide that.