Stan Oakes taught me to ask Who? before I ask What?.
I’m a Birkman red leader. I’m a strategic thinker and planner. I tend to quickly see a path forward and launch aggressively. I tend to start towards a solution quickly and clean it up as I go. My mind gravitates toward questions like
- What are the success criteria?
- What are the milestones?
- What are the next steps?
- What resources are needed?
When we were conceiving of the Leadership University web project (www.leaderu.com), Stan would always lead by asking questions like
- Who else should we invite into this project?
- Who should lead this part?
- Who can contribute?
- Who has done something like this before and knows the pitfalls?
And I learned a new leadership focus.
Jim Collins addresses this Who? then What? focus in his powerful style. This is worth 3 of your minutes if you are a leader.
Using Who? then What?, Stan went on to re-launch The King’s College in the most famous address in the U.S., the Empire State Building.
What are you leading that could benefit from a Who? focus?