Just Ask Leadership: Why Great Managers Always Ask the Right Questions

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McGraw Hill Professional, Aug 28, 2009 - Business & Economics - 208 pages

John T. Chain, Jr., rose from a second lieutenant to four-star general and led our national missile defense program.

Mike Harper led ConAgra Foods from $636 million to $20 billion in 20 years and increased its stocks value 150 times over.

Ask Gary Cohen what these remarkable leaders have in common and his answer will be straightforward: They use questions to generate fresh ideas, inspire committed action, and build an army of forward-thinking leaders.

In Just Ask Leadership, Cohen steers you away from the all-too-common idea that if you don’t assert yourself with strong statements, you will not be respected. On the contrary, statistics prove that 95 percent of employees prefer to be asked questions rather than be told what to do. Involving employees and colleagues in decision making processes builds an environment rich with energy, excitement, and innovative problem solving.

Just Ask Leadership outlines not only specific questions to ask in certain contexts, but also how to implement question-based leadership as a whole. Learn how to

  • Spend more time on long-term goals—and less on short-term crises
  • Build a culture of accountability
  • Create unity and trust throughout your workforce
  • Steer decision making to the most appropriate parties
  • Develop rapport while instilling respect

When you ask questions, you show respect —and you are respected in turn. It is that simple.

A combination of Cohen’s proven expertise and interviews with nearly 100 highly effective leaders, Just Ask Leadership explains how to harness the power of questions to make your organization more competitive, more profitable, and a better place to work.


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Chapter 1 Improve VisionGaining Insight from All Levels of the Organization
Chapter 2 Ensure AccountabilityIncreasing Team and OrganizationWide Performance
Chapter 3 Build Unity and CooperationCreating a Culture of Trust
Chapter 4 Create Better DecisionsGetting the Right Answers by Asking the Right Questions
Chapter 5 Motivate to ActionAsking for Success

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About the author (2009)

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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