Today, all too often the questions asked are designed to create differences amongst the candidates on issues, and to stir the pot as best the moderators can. I would have less a problem with that if the pot was also being stirred with some questions that directly share how each candidate would accomplish their agenda. In many cases, candidate’s answers to policy positions are guided by very comprehensive polling.
The questions I have listed next are a sample of topics that get at the information we really need to make the best decision about whom to give our vote. Here is where the candidate’s candor and real experiences could genuinely inform voters on who might be best to get the job done.
- What is the most significant crisis you’ve dealt with? What role did you play? What was a key lesson you learned?
- In your executive experience, what one mistake have you made that has been most beneficial as a learning lesson?
- What is your approach to putting a team together? Beyond talent, what are you most looking for as you assemble that team?
- What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make? What helped you most in making that decision? What did you learn?
- What leadership experience are you most proud of and why, particularly as it might relate to the challenges ahead for our next President?
Perhaps more than ever, we are seeing the impact of poor leadership and management at the federal level in the current administration. In many ways, it has become a case study for how not to build and conduct a large organization or administration. From ethics concerns to mistrust and tense relationships with career civil servants, the next President will have their work cut out for them in terms of cleaning up, restoring trust, and truly “draining the swamp” in Washington, D.C. And I believe the gravity of that task should factor into how we evaluate and weigh the candidates for our country’s highest office.
I share with you the following article from my good friend Dan Glickman to further enforce these points. “Ideas are great,” he writes, “but...nothing can be accomplished without management expertise, knowledge of how the different federal government branches interact, and the ability to put together a high performance team of professionals that can actually get things done.”