This can be a helpful question to ask as part of any decision-making process. It is important to remember that decisions have consequences on others and are implemented in the real world. For that reason, reflecting on who might need to have a voice or whose voice and perspective might add value can make the process more robust.

I carry this question with me into every meeting. I know from experience that unless the right decision-makers or indeed stakeholders are involved in the conversation you are going to struggle to make progress.

It can feel great coming out of a meeting with consensus and a clear path forward only to get a negative response when sharing with other key stakeholders either because some key perspective wasn’t considered or simply because the person in question is exerting their status or power.

Questions in the Image:

  • Who isn’t in the room?
  • Who isn’t in the room who may need to be involved?
  • What is their relationship with this process?
  • How might they help / hinder it?

Want to Read More Around This Topic?

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker (link to This book explores the importance of creating meaningful and purposeful gatherings, whether in personal or professional settings. The author emphasizes the significance of inviting the right people to the gathering and ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard and acknowledged.

Nurturing Curiosity – Daily Practice: This is part of the Nurturing Curiosity series of tools, insights and questions designed to help nurture curiosity as part of our daily practice. In point of fact, every interaction we have is an opportunity to question what we are observing and how we and others are seeing the world. Also remember that questions come in many forms throughout our day – a car driving past might be an opportunity to ask “Why do I consider some sounds noises and others not? Some sounds good and others bad?” Negative feedback from colleagues as an opportunity to ask “What might this be saying about them? What might they really be upset about?”

About Tom O’Leary

My mission is to help others think differently – meaning more broadly and deeply – and thereby make better decisions. The key to thinking differently lies in our curiosity.

The more we question, the more possible answers we uncover, and the more we expand what we thought possible. Life has taught me that possibility lies not so much in seeking answers but in learning to ask better questions – the ones that help prioritise what is truly essential.

And yet, in a culture obsessed with efficiency and productivity, the paradox is that much energy and resources are wasted by a bias towards action over contemplation. If you are answering the wrong question, it doesn’t matter how ‘hard’ you work, you are still answering the wrong question.

That is why I am a big advocate of nurturing curiosity and innovative thinking at all ages, particularly amongst leaders because of the impact they have on us all. In my vision, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are curious, open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning.

What Thoughts Would You Like to Share?

I welcome your thoughts, feedback, or personal experiences related to these questions or any insights they may have sparked.