Better Questions, Better Decisions, Better Governance and Business

The Art of Asking

That Highly Effective Leaders Ask.

A Crucial Master Class For Directors and Executives

  • elicit higher quality facts and insights, and make better-informed decisions
    • elegantly and seamlessly challenge assertions, assumptions, cognitive biases, resistance, group-think and poor research/analysis without losing rapport
    • embed higher level skills that are transferrable to any role: communication, critical thinking, creative/divergent thinking, complex problem solving
    • significantly reduce financial and non-financial risks and losses
    • generate high levels of accountability in the company
    • ensure faster, more successful outcomes
    • substantially enhance due diligence and compliance capabilities
    • build a strong, effective, proactive Board, Executive and Management culture
    • instil ethics, integrity, openness, honesty, accountability throughout the organisation.

    Time and again we see high profile corporate failures and disasters that incurred losses and remedial costs collectively totalling billions of dollars.

    At their root cause was
    • the failure of Directors and/or Executives to ask the right questions, and
    • problematic cultures that form and thrive because the right questions weren’t asked.
    Three or four well-placed questions at the right time may have avoided those losses, added hundreds of millions of dollars back to the bottom line, averted litigation and regulatory sanctions, and prevented the consequential market cap and reputational losses.
    Three or four questions that would have taken only a few seconds to ask!

    ‘[The lesson for me is] to not necessarily accept the information that is presented to me, and be far more proactive in questioning it’.
    Graeme Kraehe, the NAB’s Chairman in 2004, commenting on the NAB’s $300m forex trading losses.
  • Questions that
    • identify hidden risks (including operational and non-financial risks)
    • develop stronger, workable strategies
    • uncover manipulation of facts
    • expose flaws and weaknesses in systems, processes, structures and culture
    • challenge and test the assumptions and flawed contents of reports, proposals, strategies and presentations
    • drive integrity and accountability in decisions, actions and consequences
    • challenge and re-shape the values, thought-processes, decisions and behaviours that create costly failures

Corporate Leaders Must Have Excellent Questioning Skills

Each individual Director and Executive has a legal duty to exercise care and diligence, and to ensure that they are properly informed before making a decision.

Compliance with that duty requires the Director or Executive to have (as the Court in Centro case stated) an inquisitive mindset, and to proactively ask the right questions.

Failure to ask the right questions can result in
• significant loss to the company’s profits, share value and reputation
• expensive class actions, regulatory sanctions, or corporate and personal penalties or prosecutions

As a result, investors, courts and compliance authorities are, increasingly, expecting a higher standard of questioning skill of Directors and Executives, as we have seen with the decisions in Centro and James Hardie, and in the report of the Financial Services Royal Commission.

The evidence before the Commission showed that too often, boards did not get the right information about emerging non-financial risks; did not do enough to seek further or better information where what they had was clearly deficient; and did not do enough with the information they had to oversee and challenge management’s approach to these risks.
2019 Final Report of Financial Services Royal Commission




  • David Galbaly AM QC partner at Madgwicks lawyers speaking about directors duties to ask Powerful Questions


    Christo Norden-Powers your faciltator

    Format of in-house Masterclass

    Key competencies of Powerful questions

    Powerful Questions benefits

    Specific outcomes

    Hidden language patterns that create corporate disasters

    Every presentation, report and proposal contains subtle language patterns designed to unconsciously influence your mind, perceptions, beliefs, and decisions towards an outcome that the presenter or author is seeking.
    Sometimes those language patterns are intentionally used to deceive or ‘spin’.

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    Key Competencies of Powerful Questions®

    All of Spandah’s processes and programs are uniquely designed to be easy to learn and use, yet have multiple, integrated layers, applications and outcomes that have positive and immediate impact on your business operations, people and culture.

    The Powerful Questions MasterClass builds or enhances three essential competencies across your Board and/or Executive team:

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    Format of the In-House Powerful Questions MasterClass

    The Powerful Questions MasterClass is a highly interactive and experiential 1-day workshop conducted live in-house for your Board and/or Executive team.

    It is based on what works, as you’ll see when you learn the skill.

    We don’t use hypothetical scenarios. You’ll learn by doing, practising and learning on your company’s actual proposal documents, report documents and live presentations, which gives you an immediate opportunity to test assumptions, facts and proposals for the issues that count in your business.

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    Christo Norden-Powers - your facilitator

    A former trial lawyer who developed an interest in human performance and organisational culture.

    He trained and coached Australian Olympic athletes, in how to generate and maintain peak performance states.

    Christo left the legal profession to pursue his interest in transforming companies.

    His work then quickly spread to companies that were interested in developing peak performance in their people, and soon after to the development of organisational change and corporate cultures that generate and support sustained high performance.

    He is a world authority on how to ask questions to shift mindsets, circumvent biases and generate outstanding results.

    Christo is a founder, and the Director of Transformation and Organisational Change, at Spandah.