- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (August 6, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0071621776
- ISBN-13: 978-0071621779
- Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 29 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,001,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions Hardcover – August 6, 2009
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From the Back Cover
How do you become a great leader?
The answer’s simple: Just Ask.
The world is filled with people who have all the right answers. What it needs are more people who have all the right questions. Leadership guru Gary Cohen explains how to empower yourself and your people by presenting open-ended questions designed to engage and inspire. Just Ask Leadership provides the insight and skills you need to strategically “question” your organization to greatness.
“Gary’s book can raise everyone’s awareness of the social and intellectual power of asking rather than telling.”
―Tom Pritzker, CEO, Hyatt Corporation
“A thoroughly engaging, well-researched book that has changed the way I run my business.”
―Kayle Neeley, CEO, EZ Payroll & Staffing, and former Vice President, Norwegian Cruise Line
“Gary’s concept of Just Ask Leadership is new and illuminating. It is what we do as leaders.”
―Matt Wisk, President, My Points, Inc.
“For innovative thinking and getting a new slant on an old problem, Gary Cohen is incomparable.”
―Marcy Syms, CEO, Syms Corporation
“Gary’s approach applies to schools as well as businesses. Administrators can empower teachers and teachers can empower students simply by asking thoughtful, open-ended questions.”
―Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
About the Author
Gary Cohen, president and cofounder of ACI Telecentrics, Inc., expanded the company from two people to 2,200 employees, took the company public, and reached $32 million in revenues at the company’s peak. ACI grew at an average compounded rate of over 50 percent for almost 13 years. Currently, he is partner and founder of CO2 Partners, LLC, in Minneapolis, where he works as an executive coach and consultant.
Eric Vrooman is a freelance writer living in Minneapolis. He has taught creative writing at Tulane University and Gustavus Adolphus College.
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It is an interesting premise; however, instead of expanding on the premise, the book consists of numerous questions, each with a brief explanation. The questions are structured into chapters on vision, accountability, building unity and cooperation, decision-making and motivation. It is important to avoid "gotcha" questions and questions which are merely asked to make a point because the questioner already knows the answer.
In my view the book contains some interesting leadership advice. It takes a distinctively egalitarian and respectful approach towards a leader's subordinates. It emphasises the importance of devolving responsibility. But ultimately the list-of-questions style, although it may work for leaders, does not in my opinion work very well for creating a readable well-ordered book.
It was great to think all of this through as I read but even better that Gary gives so many great examples of how you can lead in the situations we all face with sample questions that drive the concept and actual usage home. It feels great to lead this way and even better to have a leaders that does. As I think back all of my most inspiring leaders used elements of Just Ask. I am already starting to apply it in my business and personal life, which is a great change for me and the reason I am taking time to write this review.
As you read through Just Ask Leadership you quickly come to the obvious conclusion that asking the right questions will help your team learn to answer their own questions, and give them more ownership of the results, which will help improve our effectiveness.
The real question is how do you change? Reading the examples and questions listed help, but the bottom line is that you have to commit to changing, and practice asking good questions. You also have to realize your leadership team has probably adopted a similar approach, so what questions can you ask to help them change as well?
Clearly I have some work to do, but it seems clear that releasing the power of my team through asking is the right model.
I highly recommend it for anyone who wants to be more effective in dealing with others.