How these leading CEOs use questions to drive success  

12 December 2018:

Most people don’t particularly enjoy being wrong, uncomfortable, or quiet. But, when harnessed the right way, those can be the perfect conditions for coming up with transformative questions that lead to paradigm-shifting answers.In his new book, “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life,“ MIT Leadership Center executive director Hal Gregersen describes how the minds behind some of the world’s most successful companies used the power of catalytic questioning to prime themselves for innovation, and offers a framework for replicating it yourself.

“These questions not only challenge false assumptions in the system, but they give people the energy to do something about it,” Gregersen said. “When you think of Rose Marcario, Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, any of those folks, they systematically, habitually create conditions where they themselves are likely to be wrong, uncomfortable, and reflectively quiet, such that a question would emerge that they otherwise wouldn’t ask,” Gregersen said. Here’s how five of the world’s most successful executives used questions to generate groundbreaking ideas.

Rose Marcario and Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia
When Chouinard founded Patagonia, he did it with the intention of finding a way to build a business without compromising his morals. In his quest to be sure his operation wasn’t having a negative environmental impact — and maybe even a positive one — the company settled on a counterintuitive approach to competitive advantage: What if we don’t try to protect our competitive advantage, and give away our knowledge of sustainability? That way, other companies would emulate it.Current CEO Marcario pushed that question a step further: “How do we make it uncomfortable for other businesses not to follow us?” Under Chouinard and Marcario’s lead, Patagonia has embraced “radical transparency” within the firm to its extremes, to keep a questioning alive and push those ideals forward.

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Source: MIT

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