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  • Writer's pictureChristy

Questions Every Executive Should Ask


On a recent business trip, I had the good fortune of seeing Kat Cole speak to an audience of financial advisors. As former COO and President of Focus Brands (Cinnabon, Auntie Anne’s, Moe’s, Schlotzsky’s, McAllister’s, Carvel, Seattle’s Best Coffee, and Jamba), and recently named President and COO of Athletic Greens, Cole shared three questions every business owner and executive should regularly ask of themselves, and others: What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What is one thing you would do differently to make the business better?

While some introspection and critical listening can yield valuable insights for any entrepreneur, Cole framed a fourth scenario-based question that I found to be the most powerful takeaway.


She asked the audience to envision a person with shared values and an enviable vision. Someone who is deeply respected, takes action, and drives impressive results.


And you ask, “What is the first thing you would change if you had to take over my role?” Then, answer the question from their perspective.

Sometimes, as advisors, we allow the requirements of working in our business to pull our attention from working on our business. Working on is often the game changer. Not only for the efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability but for the experience and satisfaction of our teams and clients as well.

I’d recommend also asking this question from a client’s perspective. Do your materials and presentations articulate clearly, succinctly, and with depth of expertise? Do they demonstrate knowledge of their situation and mastery of planning? Do they cut straight to the handful of things the client should be focused on to improve their financial well-being rather than offer additional noise and complexity?

If you don’t already carve time out to regularly ask these questions, perhaps it’s time to put it on the calendar.


Christy Charise, Founder & CEO of Strategic Advisor


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