Question the Answers to Answer the Questions

This week, John and I were at the SUCCESS Partners CEO Summit in Laguna Beach, California. John was discussing his new book, Good Leaders Ask Great Questions. What a great book for leaders desiring to increase their influence! After sharing for 45 minutes, he went into a Q & A session. Some of my favorite times with John these days are in these sessions where John answers questions from the audience. When asked how he can answer questions with such depth and insight without preparation, he responds, “I have been preparing for these questions for 40+ years.”

I want to dedicate this post to the idea of making the transition from being the leader who asks questions to becoming the leader who answers questions. There are three things I have found to be consistent on the journey from seeking revelations to giving information to others.

Commit to Learning
You can’t give what you don’t have. Is garbage in, garbage out, a cliché or principle? I think it is more than a cliché. What you put in, is what is going to come out. I know people who can tell you the stats and players of a sports team, but they can’t tell you one leader that has significantly impacted the world with their leadership. What we fill our minds with, will be the information that enables us to be a resource later in life.

Process your Learning
It is one thing to read, learn or seek information. It only becomes relevant to you when you begin processing the meaning and application of that information into your life. John recently said, “Experience is NOT the best teacher. Evaluated experience is!” It is good to commit to learn and better to actually learn. Once you start evaluating what you’ve learned it can impact behavior and outcomes.

Apply your Learning
Applied learning is the great ROI (return on investment) for the time, money and energy invested in learning. When you apply the things you have discovered, you make the greatest impact on those around you. I love following a leader who learns something new and shares it with me. I am always inspired by them.

The greatest reward for mentoring someone is when they share the results they’ve achieved by applying what they’ve learned. This can happen weeks, months, or even years later. I want to learn from and pour into these people. They’re the type of team members I want on my team.

One of the leaders at the CEO Summit asked me, “What is the greatest thing you have learned from John Maxwell?” My answer was his ability to connect instantly with any crowd, on any subject, in every culture. John demonstrates a depth of information that serves him well no matter his environment. I think this is because of many decades of applied learning. After answering that great question, I found myself reflecting and asking myself, “Am I applying what I am learning from John to my leadership abilities?”

Questions for you
What are you learning?
Are you processing those lessons?
How are you applying that knowledge?

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