In the “Questions that change us” series we explore the power of good questions. We invite you to ask yourself things you haven’t probably asked before. We search for questions that change our perspective and offer ways forward. We suggest questions that fundamentally shift the way we see the world. All of this with one single goal: to free ‘the better angels of our nature’, to use Lincoln’s beautiful expression.

I use the “What good looks like” question mostly in a business context but I there’s a lot of value in asking this question in various other situations as well. And although at first sight it’s a relatively simple one, you can derive a lot of insights out of it.

The real power of this question comes from nudging you to take a helicopter view towards what you are doing and focusing your efforts. We are creatures of habit, it’s just the way our brains function – they look for the regular and for shortcuts to keep us alive and well at the lowest possible costs. That’s all good of course but it also means that oftentimes we don’t pause to consider where we are going. A question like this helps achieve exactly this, and even better – it gives us the criteria for success. And once we have the criteria for success, it’s all about focusing our efforts in the right direction.

What I also love about asking What good looks like? is that it can <em>unlock the power of dreaming</em>, of envisioning the future and the art of possible. Think about it. What would make you say that you’ve got the best partner? That the best business analysts in the industry work in your company? That you’ve got the best teammates? That you’ve got the best boss? What do all these people do to make you love them?

As a side effect, I always feel more appreciative of everyone else after I’ve asked myself this question; in a strange way, the discrepancy between this ideal state and what’s actually happening makes me love people more and value their quirks and imperfections. After all, we are all currently the best versions of ourselves.

My best wishes for a great day ahead!

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