One of the regular features in the Financial Times is an interview with a business leader called Twenty Questions. The hook is that most of the 20 questions are asked in every interview so you can see how different CEOs answer the same questions.
A recent Twenty Questions segment focused on the CEO of NCR, Bill Nuti. I’ve known a number of people who have worked at NCR over the years and I’ve heard from them that it’s a pretty tough culture. There was nothing in Nuti’s answers that dissuaded me from that point of view.
That raises the question: How would you answer those same questions? I started answering the questions and was a bit embarrassed that I didn’t like a lot of my own answers.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” So, in the spirit of Socratic self-discovery, here are the questions from the FT’s Twenty Questions approach that hit home with me. If you answer them honestly, you might come up with an answer to another question, “Would you want to work for you?”
- Describe your job in 10 words.
- What are your three best features?
- And your three worst?
- When do you turn off your BlackBerry?
- What are you reading?
- What is your guilty pleasure?
- What is the smartest business idea you have ever had?
- What is the biggest mistake you have ever made in business?
- Who has been your biggest influence?
- What is the most treasured possession in your office?
- What is your Golden Rule?
- When was the last time you lost your temper at work?
- If you hadn’t been in business, what would you have done?
- How important is money to you?
- Has your job made your personal life suffer?
After answering those questions, what do you think? Would you want to work for you? If your answer isn’t a resounding, “Heck yeah!” what adjustments do you think you should make?