Can a leader achieve great results without asking questions? In most, if not all scenarios the answer is a resounding “no”. As management theorist Peter Drucker (2011) said, “The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell; the leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask.” (p. 1). Possessing the capability to determine which questions to examine as well as when to ask them will yield direct benefits for project’s leader. Among these benefits is constructing a project plan which runs smoothly and which encounters the smallest number of potential occurrences that could deter or abolish it.
Questions to Ask
The nature of the questions posed varies significantly depending upon the current point on the timeline of the project. Inquiries suitable at the onset of the plan may be inappropriate or irrelevant if asked at a later phase.
Preliminary questions must insure that the ...view middle of the document...
Questions which would helpful to determine the appropriateness of the selected team include but are not limited to:
• Does the team have all the ingredients necessary for the successful execution of the plan (Army Handbook, 1973)?
• Does the team have the time available to see the project through to completion?
• Is the team able to interface with other areas in the organization which will be necessary for completion of the plan?
Questions During the Implementation of the Plan
Likewise, questions must also be asked by the leader during the implementation of the plan. These questions would focus on unforeseen conditions that may have arisen so that they could be addressed before the project becomes unsuccessful. Questions asked during this period may include:
• Is the project on track with the projected timeline?
• Is the project being accomplished and finished as planned (Clark, 1997)?
• Has the staff been enabled to reach their full potential (Clark, 2004)? If not, what corrections can be made?
Determining if Appropriate Questions were Asked
Rarely do projects proceed through to completion without at least a few unforeseen events occurring. None the less, the fewer the difficulties encountered during the project the
better the testimony relating to the planning of the project. In fact, it is direct proof that the correct questions were asked during the planning phase and throughout the project. Indeed, if the correct questions had not been asked the number of events that occurred to obstruct the project would have been great. Likewise, the amount of time and effort spent in resolving difficulties would have been excessive.
Successful projects do not take place by chance. They are a direct result of probing to reveal the correct questions, developing a plan, and as D.R. Clark (1997) states, “creating and maintaining the conditions for effectively executed plans.” (p. 3). Obviously, plans can be formulated without asking questions; however, the probability of such plans achieving the desired results as well as a having a seamless implementation is quite low. In contrast, a well planned project reaps positive outcomes for all involved.