6 Critical Questions Your Organization Must Answer

In his book “The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business” Patrick Lencioni states that there are 6 critical questions every leadership team must be able to answer.   The 6 questions are:

  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is most important, right now?
  6. Who must do what?

As an Executive Leadership and Business Coach, I have the pleasure of learning from great leaders on a day-to-day basis. Lencioni was able to identify 6 critical questions that many business and organizational leaders SHOULD know but often fail at answering. Lencioni’s 6 questions are very similar to how we walk leaders, entrepreneurs, and business owners through organizational clarity.

  1. Why Do We Exist? What is Our Purpose? 

A purpose statement or mission statement has to be more than just words. The existence of your business, organization, church, etc. has to unpack the fundamental question of “Why”. Believe it or not, churches struggle with this the most. I often hear, “we are here to worship God or bring Him glory.” That is true, but how is your local expression of church unique? For example, my local church is in the inner-city of east Austin, Texas and we serve a multi-ethnic and diverse community which was historically poor and segregated. Our purpose statement is “To be a gospel-centered, multi-ethnic, intergenerational family of believers who worship, belong, serve, and make disciples for the good of our community and the glory of God.” You cannot inspire people to work with you or for you if you cannot communicate your purpose. Be honest about your purpose because it will set the tone for the rest of your business.


  1. How Do We Behave? What Do We Value?

Lencioni breaks down 4 types of values:

  • Core Values” are the core convictions in our organization we are willing to suffer for! We need to pick two to three core values that are specific to our convictions.
  • Aspirational Values” are behaviors the organization wishes it could have, but presently does not consistently exhibit. These values will give us a target to improve our behavior.
  • Permission-to-Play” values are the lowest common denominator behaviors that are required by the organization. Often such generic qualities as honesty or hard work most appropriately fall in this category.
  • Accidental Values” become ingrained into an organization by accident and do not necessarily help achieve the mission and goals of the entity. For example, after a few years, leaders may wake up one morning and realize everyone looks the same, graduated from a small set of similar colleges, or dresses the same.
  1. What Do We Do?

While a strong mission statement answers the “why” question, but now we must ask the “what” question. When all the activities of the organization are boiled down, what is the essence of what it is that we do? This question should also be applied by departments so they know how their work contributes to the larger picture. For example, at Renew Coaching we offer various kinds of coaching and consulting services. Every service we offer is simply a problem-solving service! You hire a Life Coach, Business Consultant, or Leadership Coach to help solve a problem. Our success is completely based on serving you, and helping you clarify a vision of success, develop a strategy, and execute your goals faster.


  1. How Will You Succeed?

What is your strategy to succeed? What are some intentional steps or things you will do to make your business or organization unique? How will stand apart from competitors or similar organizations? We lean to heavily on our experience and knowledge to create a successful strategy. There are various ways this strategy needs to be applied: Marketing, operations, recruitment, etc. At Renew Coaching, we implemented the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX). We identified two wildly important goals to devote time and energy, apply extra leverage on lead measures, and watch the lag measures move forward. This all comes together with a cadence of accountability. Our coaches meet weekly to make commitments on how we can influence and predict the lead measures.


  1. What is Most Important Right Now?

If everything is important, then nothing is. In the 4DX process, we listed two wildly important goals (WIGs) that take place outside of our daily activity (the whirlwind). We try to spend 80% of our time and energy on the whirlwind, and 20% of our time on the WIGs. What is most urgent or important in your organization right now that you can influence and predict? We often focus time and energy on lag measures such as our bottom-line. But by the time we get our spreadsheets the data is in the past. The lead measures are things we can influence and predict in real time. What are some things you can apply extra time and energy to grow your success?


  1. Who Must Do What?

In my work experience in businesses, churches, and non-profits, all have the problem of operational clarity. In other words, every type of organization struggles with this at one time or another. Operational clarity is when everyone is clear on their job description, how their job benefits the whole organization, and how they interact with other departments. As professional coaches and consultants, we are often hired to come in and work through operational health and clarity. We try to help coach leaders to simplify operations, positional clarity, and executing goals.


Renew Coaching

We are committed to equip, empower, and encourage you to reach your fullest potential. Our coaches are committed to walking with you and your team through these six critical questions. Please do not down play organizational health. It will limit your impact, stunt your growth, and could even kill your organization. We specialize working with non-profits and churches answering these six questions. We offer workshops, group coaching, and one-on-one coaching to help meet your needs. Contact us today for a free session.


Next Steps: Schedule a free call with one of our coaches!