Wed, Mar 27, 2013

What do you do here?

When I joined Mozilla four years ago Mitchell Baker, one of the founders of the Mozilla project and our chairperson, sat down with me and asked me a single question: “What do you do here?”.

You can imagine how unnerving this question is — especially when it comes from someone you hardly know (I never spoke to Mitchell beforehand) and who’s the Big Kahuna of the company you work for. I first froze in shock, then thought about the question — and it dawned on me: This is by far the best question you can ask someone who works for you.

If you can’t answer this question on the spot and with conviction — you might not be in a position where it is clear why you should do what you’re doing. And if that’s the case the organization better makes sure to move you in a position where you drive value to the company. It might not be the most comfortable question to ask or answer. And that’s precisely the reason why you should ask the question.

Asking the hard questions will make you, your people and your company better.

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