The job at the top can be a pretty lonesome place. If one let’s himself impressed by the fancy office and the nice view, it can turn very easily into an isolation cage.
Being in contact with the business, not only by meeting people but also by asking valuable questions (to them, not only to you), is imperative to the job as the boss. Never stop learning. Understanding the reality of the company, at all levels, is what enables the development of the stuff to answer the strategic questions of “so what?” and “where are we going?”. And more importantly, asking “how can I help you?” makes us part of it, as an enabler, rather than the controlling, monitoring and obstacle position. Questions such as “what if?” or “why not?”, can be powerful questions. They make your team think and move away from bias. It steers them to better outcomes.
Yet, the first question to ask, the one that develops into all of the above, and for which the answer will surely be as insightful as dramatic, is: “Am I alone in here?”
By creating a culture of candor and surrounding yourself with people who are sworn change agents, and not your personal lackeys, you can probably get all the following answers you are seeking.