5 Key Questions Drive Success

The Five Questions

The Five Questions

This simple approach using only 5 key questions can dramatically increase your likelihood of success.

These questions generate the necessary information and perspective to help you make good decisions.

Step One is to determine the missing information that each question has the ability to generate. Then write sub-questions to obtain this information.

I’m providing a few thought starters, but every situation requires a tailored list of sub questions.

1. Who?

  • Who is responsible?
  • Who will help?
  • Who will provide funding?
  • Who will try to block us?
  • Who will buy the output?

2. What?

  • What’s the product or service, including ourselves, if we’re looking for a job?
  • What is the funding we have to work with?
  • What are the obstacles to overcome?
  • What is a better option?
  • What should we do next?

3. When?

  • When do we get started?
  • When do we get funding?
  • When do we ship?
  • When is this due?
  • When is the next checkpoint we have to make?

4. Where?

  • Where do we meet?
  • Where do we find funding? (Note how funding is a recurring sub-question.)
  • Where do we distribute?
  • Where can we find the necessary resources?
  • Where’s the critical roadblock?

5. Why?

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Why are we proceeding this way?
  • Why aren’t we getting buy in?
  • Why are we behind schedule?
  • Why is the boss so upset?

For every issue and opportunity, you should start with these five key questions and develop your own relevant subset of more exacting questions to find the golden nuggets and potential bombs.

Some people think “How Much” is a sixth key question. Personally, I believe it’s a sub-question AND a result of those I’m recommending. Regardless, how much you have to invest and how much you need to earn obviously are critical outputs of my approach.

Step Two is to answer your questions.

The more value you see in this approach, the more:

  • Effort you’ll put into getting actionable answers, and
  • Time you’ll spend working to understand how the answers must be combined into decisions and action plans.


About Richard Sellers

Richard is Chairman Emeritus of the Marketing Executives Networking Group, founder of Demand Marketing consulting firm, and former Sr. VP of Marketing for three multi-billion dollar companies: CEC, WLP, and Service Merchandise. His early career was at GE, P&G, Playtex, and Marketing Corporation of America. He’s also a volunteer counselor for SCORE assisting small businesses in upstate New York. You can follow his communications about marketing, job search and careers here and at mengonlineENTREPRENEURS QUESTIONS, and on Twitter at @Sellers_Richard.



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