The Power of a Good Question

Some people collect comic books, or movie posters, or pez dispensers. I like questions.

Whenever I come across a question that is particularly provocative or surprising, I take note. Some questions are incredibly rare. Some are even dangerous.

How can a question be dangerous? Hundreds of years ago, Galileo was threatened with jail for asking "Does the Earth revolve around the Sun?" Millions of people have been killed over "Don't we all deserve the same rights?" And "Who controls a woman's choices about her body?" can still divide a family, or a country.

But even more dangerous are the questions we don't ask — the ones so potent that saying them aloud would obliterate the structures of power, privilege, and certainty. "Are their needs really less valid than mine?" "Can I think of specific ways in which I'm wrong?" And one of my favorites: "Is it possible my perspective is … Read More

Why Clients Shouldn’t Come First

"The client must come first!" explained the financial advisor. He had just been screaming at his associate, and I asked what was going on. "She made a mistake that affects the client, and I'm teaching her a lesson she won't easily forget."

He was right — she would probably never forget it. She would also never fully trust him again, she would live in fear of making more mistakes, and she would come to hate her job. Don't you think the clients would sense that?

The best leaders don't put their clients first. They put their team first.

Why? Because when the team comes first, people develop deeper bonds of trust, camaraderie, and accountability, and all the work that the team then undertakes — all the actions that actually help clients — come from a stronger place. People cover for each other. They share best practices. They brainstorm honestly about … Read More