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The Greatest Question Never Asked

By - Last modified: February 26, 2013 at 10:25 AM
Dick Cross. Submitted photo
Dick Cross. Submitted photo

I recently asked a simple question to nearly 1,000 aftermarket executives and managers in a keynote address. Plenty of time left for answers. But no one uttered a sound.

The question was this: “How do you run a business?”

That question catches everyone off guard. And embarrasses them. Because they think they ought to know the answer. And no one does.

That’s why the job at the top is done differently in every company. Left to chance, I say. And that’s why it’s seldom done well enough.

It’s why 90 percent of new businesses fail. It’s also why so many others are stuck at levels far below their potentials.

Sound familiar? If so, you’ll like this blog. Straightforward talk about The Greatest Question Never Asked.

If this were the start of a live presentation, right now I’d ask you to do the unthinkable: Skip to the last page of the handout. Because that’s where you’d see this:

Job At The Top? It’s about two things:

  • Thinking
  • Character

Sounds simple, right? Wrong!

Thinking’s the hardest work we do. Quietly, alone, no distractions. Considering deeply how everything about our business fits together into a whole that makes sense in terms of how the world is changing around us – or doesn’t fit into it.

So we avoid doing it. We do anything else that makes us feel productive. We avoid our highest calling.

And what about character? You’re in charge. Who’s going to challenge your character? It must be you – continuously and assiduously. Because your personal character – scrutinized in the most minute detail by your employees, customers and your communities – is your most potent tool for creating maniacal followership and commitment to your cause.

So, now you know the answer to The Greatest Question Never Asked: “It’s about thinking, and it’s about character.”

If someone asks you The Greatest Question Never Asked before my next installment, simply give them those headlines. You’ll be right. And in our subsequent blog posts, we’ll be backfilling both angles on the job at the top with more details from real life.

Also in the meanwhile, shut your door for 20 minutes three times a week, with no distractions, and consider the question. You’ll start seeing a difference.



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