The 6 most important questions you can ever ask yourself as an executive

Executive Board

Executive Board (Photo credit: Nestlé)

These are the 6 questions that I think would be very important for every executive to ask himself in order to help them calibrate their roles in their firms.

Why am I here in this firm?
Where is this firm heading?
What is my missional value?
Who am I really serving?
When do I need to deliver my results?
How do I go about delivering my results?

    1. Why am I here in this firm?

If this question cannot be answered with clarity, there are a few gap possibilities. One, you were not briefed adequately on your role. Two, you were taking the briefing session lightly. Three, there was too much briefing information but very little information on the most critical parts. Four, what you thought was supposed to be your valued contribution is a firm mismatch with the eventual job offer.

    2. Where is this firm heading?

This is the vision, mission and direction of the firm. A local firm recently articulated its direction clearly – to put a 3-D printer in every household.

    3. What is my missional value?

Based on the vision, mission and direction of the firm, what is your contribution to achieve them? That is your value to the firm. To a planning officer, your value could be for example, to make sense of complex data of all the forces that could possibly affect the company and recommend a direction forward for management.

    4. Who am I really serving?

Customer orientation has always been a hot topic ever since Levitt posited it in his early paper decades ago. We can discuss a great deal about it but is our orientation really reflecting this? It will make a real difference between what you think management should hear and what management wants to hear. Drucker posited that the real reason behind the existence of a business is the customer. If we identify the customer wrongly, we will end up serving the wrong person and waste valuable time and resources while competitors chew away at our market share.

    5. When do I need to deliver my results?

In a time sensitive world, we need to always be realistic with what we can promise and when we can deliver the promise. Delays will cost you. So in the absence of information, under-promise so that you have the opportunity to over-deliver.

    6. How do I go about delivering my results?

Resources and capabilities are crucial because they put the money where the mouth is. You need to flesh out clearly what you need to take you to where you want to go. Clarity is the basis for cooperation.

J.CJ

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