The greatest source of mistakes in top management is to ask the same questions most people ask. They all assume that there are the same “right answers” for everyone. But one does not begin with answers. One begins by asking, “What are our questions?”
The issues facing management don’t change from year to year. The answers do. The biggest skill needed to address these issues is not really a skill — it is a basic attitude, a willingness to start not with the question “What do I want to do?” but with the question “What needs to be done?” It was the willingness to ask this question that made the fairly mediocre Harry Truman a great president and the superbly gifted Richard Nixon a failure.