During 2002, Keith Coats, of TomorrowToday.biz, wrote briefly about the merits of a Concept Cafï¿½ in business today.(http://www.tomorrowtoday.biz/article/article_003.htm) He suggested that it could be used to, â€˜discuss leadership and some of the more personal / inner aspects to leadership, which are seldom given space in the work environment for meaningful discussionâ€™.
As we have worked inside companies and organisations (in our GameBreaker project) we are often stunned by how much wisdom and value is present within and yet so much effort and time is spent looking on the outside for answers. We find very few intentional forums in which meaningful dialogue can take place, and effective learning transferred.
Using Keithâ€™s thoughts as motivation, I set out on a quest to interview people I have long respected for the success they have attained in their own businesses and personal lives. My question to them was simple, â€šWhat 2 questions would you ask someone you admired if you had 15 minutes of their time, and you wanted to learn as much as you could about their success (personal or professional)?â€›
I ended up with 30 – 40 questions that Iâ€™ve synthesized into a list of 12. Iâ€™ve tested them out on both the contributors as well as other interesting people. Weâ€™ll be including some of these interviews in our Monthly E-Zine from now on, shared wisdom from which you too can benefit.
The most interesting part of this process has been the manner in which the respondents answered my initial question. Their â€˜two questionsâ€™ assumed a whole lot about successful people. Remember, these were already successful people (in my eyes) that I questioned. They didnâ€™t want to know how to attain success; they wanted to learn from othersâ€™ journey toward success. In other words, they werenâ€™t interested in the how? as much as the what? and the why?
For example, they didnâ€™t send back questions as to whether or not fear played a role, they wanted to know what their biggest fear was? They didnâ€™t ask if there was a turning point, they asked what the turning point or great moment was? I could continue with each question, but youâ€™ll get the picture as you read through the list.
1.What was your great moment or turning point? Was it part of your plan?
2.What choice or decision did you make in you life that made all the difference and why?
3.What would you tell yourself at age 21 if you could go back then?
4.What is your biggest fear?
5.What mechanisms have you put in place to ensure focus?
6.Have you always had a long term plan?
7.Who was/is your mentor? Why them?
8.Who are individuals that have inspired or impacted your life, and why?
9.What is your personal â€˜big ideaâ€™?
10.What has been the cost of success?
11.What inspires you in your day to day life?
12.Is it possible to have a successful professional and family life? How?
From the responses I received, it would seem that the signposts that mark the journey towards success are as follows:
â€œA great moment or turning pointâ€œChoices and decisions that make a difference
â€œA long term plan
â€œMentors and inspiring people
â€œA â€˜Big Ideaâ€™
Watch out for the interviews with interesting people in the issues to follow. Certainly we can promise you some really good reading and learnings from people who have, as they sometimes say, been around the block a couple of times.