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Open, Closed, and Numbers Questions

As a leader of others, the type of questions you ask can make a big difference in how well those questions empower and help team members grow.

First and foremost, think in terms of “open” instead of “closed” questions.

Open questions lead to answers filled with information. Beginning with words such as “who, what, when, where, and how,” open-ended questions are crafted in ways that encourage direct reports to open up and share answers in depth. An example would be, “How would you describe our company’s culture?”

Closed questions can only be answered directly with a word or two, such as “Do you like the culture here?” This limiting question, calling for either a “yes” or “no” answer. This kind of answer doesn’t lead you very far, and it certainly doesn’t kick-start a dialogue.

Use Numbers! Our brains love questions with a number in them! They’re great for stimulating creativity, focusing thoughts, and providing a simple framework within which to work. If you find a team member getting stuck with a particular problem, pose a numbers question, and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised how well it opens up a dialogue and creates a breakthrough.

Here are some examples:

“What are the three major challenges preventing us from reaching our goals?”

“What are the top four approaches we could pursue for the XYZ project …?”

“Let’s brainstorm the five most powerful ways we could …”

“What are the three most important steps we could take to achieve …?”

Brenda Bence Bio

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Powerful Questions

The best way to develop your team is by asking powerful questions. Yes, it’s true that this can take slightly more time than immediately telling employees what to do. But, if you don’t make the time to ask questions of your team members, you will end up being the one answering all of the questions and doing more work than necessary — a sign that your team has become dependent on you. And once that happens, you’ll never step out of that never-ending cycle unless you make the decision to change your behaviors and begin asking vs. telling.

In fact, I believe that asking instead of telling is a fundamental behavior of great leaders. In my shadowing experience, I see that the strongest leaders are those who don’t respond to queries from their staff right off the bat—that is, they don’t tell an staff member what to do and then send the employee away to implement the plan. Instead, they ask powerful questions that get team members to stop, reflect, grow, and challenge him/herself. Read the rest of this entry »

Developing people isn’t a task you do “on the side”

In my upcoming book – Would You Want to Work For YOU? – I argue that building people is an integral, day-to-day part of your job as a leader, and I offer strategies for developing your team members on a moment-by-moment basis.

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BDA International’s Leadership Development Program Ranks Among Top 25 in 2012

CHICAGO – Brand Development Associates International (BDA) has been ranked #23 in the Independent Consultants/Trainers/Coaches category of Leadership Excellence’s annual ranking of the top 500 leadership development programs in the world. The Leadership 500 is a ranking of the best individuals, teams, and organizations in leadership development practices and employee motivation-productivity today.  BDA’s 2012 ranking is up six places from last year’s ranking of #29.

This year’s Leadership 500 was published in the October 2012 Edition of Leadership Excellence magazine, a publication founded by business greats Ken Shelton, Stephen R. Covey, Ken Blanchard, and Charles Garfield. The issue was sent to almost 200,000 of the world’s “movers, shakers, and decision makers.”

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A Unique “Public” Opportunity to Hear Brenda Bence Speak — Singapore PrimeTime on November 8, 2012

Brenda Bence, Dynamic Professional Speaker, Addresses a Conference

 

Are you going to be in Singapore on November 8?

If so, Brenda Bence will be presenting a one-hour keynote that evening for the PrimeTime organization.

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BRENDA BENCE’S SMARTER BRANDING WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK WINS SEVEN BOOK AWARDS

 

CHICAGO – June 2012: Author Brenda Bence’s latest book, Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank: Five Proven Marketing Strategies You Can Use Right Now to Build Your Business at Little or No Cost has won a total of seven book awards since its publication in September 2011, including top prizes from the 2012 Axiom Business Book Awards, International Book Awards, and National Indie Excellent Awards.

“We are delighted by the response to this book.” Bence said. “Smarter Branding, which is based on one of my highest-demand workshops conducted around the world, is focused on helping businesses with limited budgets successfully promote and grow their brands without the kind of deep pockets enjoyed by big brands.”

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Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank – my new online course!

Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank Online Course

“The definitive guide to buiding a brand on a tight budget.”

Big news!  My new online course, Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank, is now “live” on Udemy.com. And, for the next 48 hours, it’s on sale for 50% OFF!

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Brenda Bence’s Book, Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank, Wins Coveted Axiom Business Books Award

Gold Winner, Advertising/Marketing/PR/Event Planning - Axiom Business Book Awards 2012

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CHICAGO – March 2012. Author Brenda Bence’s latest book, Smarter Branding Without Breaking the Bank: Five Proven Marketing Strategies You Can Use Right Now to Build Your Business at Little or No Cost is a Gold Medal Winner in the Advertising/Marketing/PR/Event Planning category of the 2012 Axiom Business Book Awards.

“This award means a lot to me because we competed with books released by some of the country’s best publishers; plus, I have a lot of respect for the Axiom Awards,” Bence said. “I based this book on one of my workshops that has been in high demand around the world,” she continued, “and my goal behind Smarter Branding is to help small-to-medium enterprises and solo-preneurs learn how they can successfully promote and grow their brands without a ‘big-brand’ budget.”

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Thank you for your vote – Top Brand Gurus of the World!

Here at Brand Development Associates International, we just found out that I’m on the nomination list for Top Brand Gurus of 2012.  In 2011, I was voted in at #7 on the list, and since 40% of the ranking is based on votes, we would sure appreciate your support!

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BRAND DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL RECOGNIZED IN RANKING OF ANNUAL TOP 500 LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

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Brand Development Associates International (BDA) has been ranked #29 in the Independent Consultants/Trainers/Coaches category of Leadership Excellence’s annual ranking of the Top 500 Leadership Development Programs in the world. The Leadership 500 is a ranking of the best individuals, teams, and organizations in leadership development practices and employee motivation-productivity today.

This year’s Leadership 500 was published in the October 2011 Special Edition of Leadership Excellence magazine, a publication founded by business greats Ken Shelton, Stephen R. Covey, Ken Blanchard, and Charles Garfield. The issue was sent to more than 187,000 of the world’s “movers, shakers, and decision makers.”

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