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Posted by Sarah Brown on 25 Apr '23

Are you asking the right questions to get you the best results?

I was reading a good article in the Times yesterday about illegal immigrants. It made me think about how you can fail because the wrong people are asking the wrong questions.

It suggested that immigration shouldn't be handled by the Home Office, who generally are about law and order and stopping things.

Obviously, they are asking: How can we prevent/control immigration? In other countries, immigration is often handled by departments that focus on foreign affairs, who ask: How can we work with other countries to manage immigration and return those who shouldn't be here to their homeland? Alternatively, in some places, immigration is handled by the economic department asking: What skills and types of people do we need? Or by a department focusing on welfare and integration that asks: How can we most quickly and effectively help people become productive citizens?

All the world is impacted by mass migration, but how each country responds depends on who is responsible and their questions, which are dictated by their perspective and goals for their role.

Example for any organisation

I meet many organisations asking: How can I get more income (it might be sales or funding)?

But there are better questions than that because asking for more money doesn't get you a helpful answer. It is just a measure of activity.

Firstly, it needs to be more specific and doesn't reflect your unique personality as an organisation.

Secondly, it doesn't include your "why", why you exist. You don't exist to make money; you exist to change the world for the people you serve, whatever you are doing.

I know this may sound too profound, but no one decides to give you money because you exist.

Here are some better questions to ask:

  • How can I/we work more with the people we are already changing the world for?
  • How can I/we increase our impact by adding something or finding a collaborator to attract more people who want to pay?
  • How can I/we find people who want to pay for how we change the world?
  • What could I/we offer that would attract regular income?
  • How can I/we build a 'tribe' or access an existing 'tribe' that falls in love with what we do and wants to be part of it?

If you are an organisation, ensure everyone is encouraged to ask the best questions to get you towards your goal of changing the world more. This will empower people and check that they are clear about how you change the world.


Early in my career, I was in the laundry and drain business! Consequently, I have always been aware toilets are important. If you have toilets your customers or users use, get the person who cleans and maintains them to ask the question: How could we make our toilets so good/reflective of us that people talk about them as a reflection of how wonderful our organisation is? In fact, even if you only have staff toilets, why wouldn't you want to inspire them?

I won't return to a cafe or restaurant with nasty/dirty toilets, but I am suggesting more than good hygiene.

If you are a quirky organisation, could you have cartoons to amuse people on the wall? If you are a caring organisation, could you have a noticeboard with information about valuable places to go for help more than the odd posters you occasionally get? Could you have beautiful or inspirational photos so that you feel soothed?


You will be more successful if you have clarity about what you want to achieve and encourage everyone to ask well-formed questions to improve results based on their role and the organisation's purpose.

If you need help getting started, give me a call. I am really curious so I am good at questions.

Blogs with related topics you might like to read:

How treating staff well could solve the UK’s productivity crisis and what staff want

How to change the world with marketing not charity

Niches from Amazon to artistic CVs

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Tags: growth staff engagement strategy