When I’m onsite at a business, I’m viewed as a shadowy Colonel Flagg character (look it up if you’re under 40) that talks to the boss for a few hours and then slips quietly into the night. But people generally understand that, along with drinking copious amounts of tea, I’m talking with leadership about strategy and direction.
So a few times now I’ve pulled aside a person that shows promise in the company and isn’t on the executive team (or maybe anywhere near it yet) and asked them about their view of the future of the business. A question about what they see as the company’s biggest threats or opportunities is great.
It freaks them out, but in a good way. It gets them thinking. It communicates to them that, one day, they might be interacting with those questions a lot. It helps to develop them as leaders today and in the future. Try it out,