With this, I’ve sought out to write my shortest article ever.

Not to oversimplify, but to say what needs to be said succinctly.

These are the two questions I’ve heard, been asked, and will start to use in my repertoire when working with others in all manner of contexts.

In our podcast this week, we speak about contagion – and these questions are most certainly a way to get good things spreading. And the more I think about work, workplaces, and human evolution – we do our best when we are growing and have momentum, and we do our worst when we feel like we aren’t growing and have lost momentum.

So with that introduction, here are two of the best questions to ask at work. Your team, colleagues, peers, any one really, to tap into growth and momentum, and even build some contagious energy into what you’re doing.

Question 1 - Are we winning?

This is an adaptation of one that I’ve heard time and again in my career – ‘are you winning?’. Used in a meeting, but more likely strolling down the corridor, in the coffee line or lift ride. ‘Are we winning?’ sure is a huge upgrade on the very standard corporate lift call and response of ‘How are you?’. ‘Busy, very busy’. I’ve never heard someone answer that they ‘are quiet’ during a lift ride – presumably they worry if they do it will be their last.

‘Are you winning?’ works, but it does only check in on an individual, not collectively on the team. You could critique (swap out) words like ‘winning’, vs. ‘your best contribution’ – but it would be splitting hairs, and it would not be aligned to high performance, or high collective accountability.

Are we winning is the upgrade to this – good in a group, or to an individual.


Asked to the individual, ‘we’ implies that you want to win, to do well, and you want to do it with them. You’re not asking them to win alone. So even if their answer is not a resounding yes, you’ve already voiced your offer to help through that simple shift in language.

And the second question, is a bit longer, but still targets growth, builds momentum and shows people you value their work.

Question 2 - I’ve been thinking about what you said….and….do you think we could/should do….?

Yes, this is again collective. Why does this one matter?

Because thinking about someone else – what they said, how they think, the work they do – when you’re also a busy person with a rich and interesting life like everyone else (yes, our favourite word – sonder!) – it would be way easier to not commit headspace to them.

Sounds cruel, and it sort of is.

Attention spans are short, and hard to hold, so if you’ve been thinking about what they were talking about – it shows you were listening, you’ve pondered, and now you’ve got an idea, a challenge, a solution, a criticism.

What you say after the ‘and’ – good or constructive, will be better received because you listened, you cared, and you came back to them thoughtfully.

I’ve been thinking about what you said and…is one of the best workplace compliment you can give (of course, keep it above board).

Two of the best.

So that’s two of the best. Nothing flashy. No poetry or big stories to tell.

Just two of the best questions to ask.

You can read this, and love my two questions. You may use one or both already.

Or you can dislike or disagree with them, and that’s good to

You can read up on workplace behaviour, organisational psychology, another leadership book – and they’re valuable, but so is observation and practice.

These two of the best are observation and practice. As we work more and more with some of the most respected leaders globally, what becomes clear and what they all share is consistency and simplicity.

So – take their lead.

Find your ‘two of the best’. Two simple questions. And become known for them as the way you work, how you interact with others, that you bring others energy, growth and momentum – and you’ll make real progress.