What is the Question at the Heart of your Corporate Event?
A corporate event usually has a theme or topic that defines its content. This often comes from the CEO, Leadership team or the Department Head. However, more and more organisations are not centring their events around a theme or topic, but rather around a key question.
The purpose of this article is highlight the shift in centring corporate events around a key question rather than a theme or topic.
The Formula 1 Question
Efficiency is a core element in the sport of Formula 1, so it is not surprising that many of their leading strategies revolve around this quality. Indeed one of the Formula 1 team leaders became famous for his consistency in asking one specific question, whenever faced with a decision to make, he would ask: “Does it make the car go faster?”
Whenever he was asked by the technical team if they could spend time on something, he would ask, “Does it make the car go faster?” If the answer was yes, then they could. If the answer was no, then they could not. The same went for any questions regarding investment, time management common and setting priorities. He used one simple question to guide operations while reminding everyone of the main vision*.
One question can guide operations while reminding everyone of the main vision.
* I recently met one of the members from this Formula 1 team and he told me that why actually had two questions: Does it make the car go faster? and Does this make us more money? Because the team was independently-funded they had to constantly design financial strategies that would support their ongoing investments. Additionally, he refined the concept of ‘making the car go faster’ with the fact that they also had to balance this with safety. So when they asked Does it make the car go faster? they worked with the assumption that it was ‘faster’ while maintaining the right levels of safely. After all, if you do not finish the race you can not win.
The Leadership Question
In parallel to this I believe at the heart of every great organisation is a key question* that can be used to guide operations while reminding everyone of the main vision. This is why I say, “The right question is worth a thousand answers.”
* There are different types of questions. There are what I call ‘transactional’ questions and ‘transformational’ questions. Transactional questions are questions that need to be answered in the short-term for operational reasons. For example, How do we get more customers to buy from us? Where as Transformational questions are questions that can be ‘held’, not answered, and used to guide long-term strategy. For example, Who do we need to be for customers to want to buy from us?
Questions are dynamic. Answers are static. In other words, when you ask a question it holds an energy within it to find an answer. However, once the answer is found the energy is gone. In this regard questions are dynamic. They are catalysts for igniting curiosity and guiding thought processes. By asking questions the structure of an interaction moves from static to dynamic.
So more and more Leaders now understand that their job is not to give answers but to ask questions. Indeed, their first job is to find the right question and their second job is to keep asking it.
Leaders now understand that their job is not to give answers but to ask questions.
The Organisational Question
So what is your Formula 1 question? While the complexity of most organisations calls for a different question than Does it make us go faster?* There is always one question that all other questions will revolve around. Find this question and all others are guided by it and, in many cases, answered by it.
* Indeed the concept of ‘speed’ in organisations has become an unhealthy obsession because it is flawed a concept. By definition ‘speed’ is ‘movement with no direction.’ Where as ‘velocity’ is ‘movement with a direction’. So often in my conversations with organisations we discover that change is often inspired by the language we use.
I believe, beyond excellence in innovation, operations, and technology, successful organisations have one key characteristic: their ability to ask the right question. Asking this question guides leadership, fuels innovation, and inspires communication. Ultimately this question creates a new corporate culture that is resilient towards the future.
Your Event Question
Of course, in every organisation, there are many questions to be asked, however there is always one question around which all the others revolve. In most cases, this one core question can answer all the other questions.
Repeatedly asking your core question is crucial, because it reminds everyone of what is behind your Vision. When this is clear you can use this central question to also guide your corporate event. See our article: How a Professional Keynote Speaker uses the Power of Questions.
However, even if your organisations core question is not clear, you can still place a key question at the heart of your event. For example, one of my clients organised a corporate event to address their approach to Digital Transformation. And in consultation with them before the event, we decided to centre the event around the key question: Does this make us more agile?
By placing the question ‘Does this make us more agile?’ at the heart of the event it elevated all conversations above the specifics of technology, and guided all decisions towards a more holistic vision. (For more ideas on how to get extra help from your Keynote Speaker see our article: 5 Trade Secrets to get the Most from Your Keynote Speaker.)
So the next time you are organising a corporate event do not centre it around a theme or topic, but rather around a simple question that guides operations while reminding everyone of the main vision.
To learn more about how Paul Hughes can help you find your core question, and how his Keynote Speeches can engage your audience Request a Quote now.