Five Questions You Need to Ask at the Start of Every Task

As John Maxwell says, “Good leaders ask great questions.”

If you want to take your life to the next level in terms of your work, your career, or even your business, you need to ask great questions.

First of all, before you even ask a question, you have to do your homework. You have to do your own research. Always ask Google first!

It’s okay to ask silly questions. But, don’t stop there. It’s also important to acquire the habit of (and the courage to) ask questions.

Here are five questions you can ask at the start of every task, project, or engagement (credit where credit is due: I learned these five questions from the late Dr. Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People):

1. What is the desired result?

First of all, you have to understand what the goal of the project or the task is. You have to understand “why” you are doing things in the first place.

2. What are the specific guidelines?

Are there specific guidelines set by your boss or by your client? Are there limitations on the scope of the project? Are there laws and regulations that you should adhere to when doing the project? Our Feast builder taught us that before you think out of the box, you have to master the box. You have to understand the specific parameters within which you can do the task.

3. What are the resources available?

Are there databases already available for you to do research? Are there tools which you can already use? You do not have to reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to.

4. Who are accountable for each task?

The bigger the project, the bigger the team. To be more effective and efficient, it should be clear as to who should be accountable for each task. Collaboration is important, but it works only if there are clear boundaries as to who will do what as well. 

Also, it is important to set up how each individual will be evaluated. Set up objective performance evaluations for each task tied to the desired result.

5. What are the consequences?

What are the consequences should the desired results be met? What would the rewards be? Should they not be met, what would be the overall impact on the team or the organization?