3 Questions for Mentors and Advisors in Small Business

small business

A very healthy trend in small business management is in retaining talented advisors to offer guidance and accountability.

In your search for talent for your small business you are prepared to ask and answer many questions. For both your employees and for your ‘boss.’ A ‘boss’ in the form of a wise old man or woman who is not intimidated by your hard charging spirit.

There are questions you should be prepared to ask. Questions for your possible new ‘boss.’ And not just the trite and true, “Tell Me How You Came To Build XYZ Corp.” My questions are to (dis)qualify him. You may not want to ‘work’ for him. And if you really, really need the advisor, you at least won’t be blind-sided. Look for Love, Strategy, Tactics.

1) Love. Does he love me? I was humbled to have Jesse Brown, the former Veteran’s Administration Secretary for Bill Clinton, as a business partner.

“Does he love me?” was Jesse’s one rule for taking on a new client or a new board seat. “If the love’s there, all else will fall in.” Look for; get the feel for the love. Yes, yes, I know it’s an emotion. But so is misery. Look for the love.

The Honorable
Jesse Brown

Jesse was an honorary campaign manager for the Al Gore presidential race. Which meant he was a $100K contributor. And could have any job he wanted. So I asked him why he gave the money since he wasn’t going to take a position in a new administration. “I wanted to help my friends get jobs.” He didn’t need anything for himself; he sincerely wanted to help others. Including nobodies like Your Business Blogger.

2) Strategy. What would you do if you hit the lottery? Or the IPO is really successful?. What would your potential ‘boss’ do if he had a sudden windfall of a nine-figure pile of cash? I asked that question in an interview where I was looking for board members for my thinly capitalized start-up. And I was surprised. The former CEO, an avid sailor, leaned back, and with a far away look in his eye talked about opening up a chain of marinas. His big dream. His big dream was not in my building and I wasn’t a part of it. I didn’t feel the love.


JJ Abrams with Tom Cruise
Credit: Stephen Vaughan

The right answer is seen in JJ Abrams, the director of Mission Impossible III with Tom Cruise. He was recently asked what he did with all his money and about his work,

Next up for Abrams is a “Star Trek” movie, now in pre-production, which will unleash his inner geek as never before. He’ll also be working on “Lost,” trying to ensure the show doesn’t splinter into so many directions that it chokes on itself or stops moving.

There’s not a lot of talk from him about downtime.

Asked if he has any plans for his money, he seems confused.

“What money?”

You know, the money you get paid for all this incredibly lucrative work.

He thinks for a moment, then tilts his head and points to his locks.

“Hair care,” he says.

The reporter’s question was met with a joke. JJ Abrams really didn’t think about the money, didn’t think about the stuff it could buy. Or taking long vacations. He was consumed with his passion of making movies. The Love.

If you had the wealth of Solomon you should be doing exactly what you are doing now. The right answer from your potential advisor or mentor is, “If I struck oil in my front yard, I’d still be doing what I’m doing now.” And he is really saying, “I love your work and I want to help you.”

3) Tactics. What classes are you taking now? Continuous learning is, well, continuous. Life-long-learning is the hallmark of leaders.


Benjamin Franklin

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest,” said Benjamin Franklin. An outstanding prospective ‘boss’ is reading a compelling book, just finished a seminar on international business etiquette, or studied overseas strategies for a board of directors’ meeting. She is always learning something.

Education and continuous improvement is the one thing every ‘boss’ should care about.

I was surprised to learn this. It’s the one thing everyone in the organization wants.

Your Business Blogger once acted as the COO of a Fortune 350 size organization. In my first meeting with the human resource directors, I asked them what was the one benefit our employees wanted.

I thought it would be more money. More time off. Vacations days. Sick leave. The typical union demands.

Nope. The nine HR professionals, who happened to all be women said, unanimously, education. More budget and time for improving knowlege, skills and abilities. More opportunities for studies and credentials. (Then they’d clamor for increased pay based on increased efficiency. Clever buggers.)

So we opened attendance for adult education programs at local universities and community colleges. And squeezed out budgets for fancy business consultants to teach advanced management skills. Everyone was happy. Our employee retention rate improved.

If your new board member or advisor doesn’t care about adult education for himself, he won’t care about improvement for you or your team.

So you are now armed with three qualifying questions to test your next ‘boss.’ Or try them on your current board if you are looking for an excuse to ask them to leave.

And let me know how it goes. I might learn something.

Jesse Brown passed away 4 years ago this month. I still miss him. My inaugural post was dedicated to him.


Jack Yoest

Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.

51 Reactions

  1. Great piece Jack. I love your writing, I never where it is going to go and how it is going to get there but it always does. Kind of like a roller coaster in the dark, I always enjoy the ride.

  2. Steve, thank you for your kind words. “roller coaster in the dark” great metaphor! I’ll have to steal, I mean borrow it — except that you are too kind — implying that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, an end to the ride —

    Whereas the truth is that I remain in the tunnel, always in the dark; and I merely turn on a flashlite. Insanity helps. http://www.yoest.org/archives/2006/01/are_managers_sociopaths.php

    I am in your debt for providing the batteries…

    Thanks again,

  3. I really found this article important and useful for students in a leadership class because many times leaders dedicate their time to leading but in this article, it gives a different point of view. The leader taking the time to care about his people/staff and get to know his staff’s needs by simple communication. The example that I liked the most was on the HR consultant and how they reacted. If the leader just assumes they want more time off and more vacation leave without communicating with them they would be unhappy and instead of holding a higher retention rate it could potentially have decrease. I feel like this article really plays an important role in any leader that wants to be successful.

  4. Every company’s management team is gaining advisors for guidance among coworkers and entry level employees. Many questions will be asked, but that is just to find the best candidate with the best outcomes for the company. Professor Yoest talked about 3 specific questions for small business mentors. However, I have some experience myself. This past Friday I had my first real job interview at an IT staffing company in Philly. Part of the entry-level position included a mentorship program. This means I would have a mentor assigned to me the first day of work. This person will guide me through the in and outs of the company for about 6-8 months. After that, I am on my own. This company surely asked some specific questions to find the best candidates to become a mentor. They do this because to be an advisor you need to have qualities where you truly want to see someone learn and grow. I thought this was really interesting and a great program for entry level employees. I found it even more interesting once I read this article because now I understand the importance of asking questions.

  5. A very healthy trend in small business management is in retaining talented advisors to offer guidance and accountability. In your search for talent for your small business you must be prepared to ask and answer many questions. This should happen to your employees as well as your boss. Your questions should contain a hidden expectation in your favor; questions to disqualify your employee or the boss if for instance you don’t want to work for him or her. However, to do this and win you must use the following approaches;
    Look for love from the person you are dealing with. Ask yourself whether for instance your boss loves you. This is important because if there is no feel of love everything will fall.
    Some questions in this approach should be concerned with success of your boss. You can trick his mind by asking what he/she could do if wins a lottery. If he says he would quit what he is currently doing, then know he is not serious in business. He should never stop what he does but can expand or invest in parallel.
    Ask him, “What classes are you taking now? A good business leader should talk of continuous learning and improvement. Adult education for himself.

  6. From my own experience, being prepared to ask your future advisor or boss questions during an interview is an essential part of the entire process. Interviewers look for questions from their candidates because it proves that he or she is thoroughly interested in the company. Within the article, Professor Yoest lays out three key topics that an interviewee should formulate their questions around. I was very intrigued by the article because the three points Professor Yoest points out are extremely important for a person to consider while searching and applying for jobs. It is just as important for the interviewee to want to work for a company as it is for a company to desire the interviewee. Somethings a future employee should consider when applying for jobs is opportunity for growth, job security and comfortableness within a work place. The three points, love, strategy and tactic, can be used to gage whether or not the company is appropriate for the interviewee’s future plans. An interviewee wants to be desired by a company; if he or she are desired by the company he or she is more likely to be happy working for the company. It also is important for job security that an interviewee feels loved and the boss loves his job and the company.

  7. The article “3 Questions for Mentors and Advisors in Small Business”, by Professor Yoest, mentions three important questions you should be prepared to ask your boss. These are related to 3 main topics, Love, Strategy, and Tactics. By Love, he means the actual question “Does he love me?”. Profesor Yoest talks about Jesse Brown, the former Veteran’s Administration Secretary for Bill Clinton. This question was his one rule when taking on a new client or board seat. He believes that if he feels the love, everything else will fall into place and the business will be successful. The second question relates to strategy. “What would you do if you hit the lottery?”, this question is important to consider since the answer makes us get to know the person better, what their dreams are and how they relate to the sector they are working in. Lastly, the third question that a person should have in mind is related to Tactics. The question “What classes are you taking now?” is important to ask since it shows your Boss’s willingness to learn. It could be a book they are reading or a Leadership seminar they go to. These are qualities of a boss who believes in self-improvement and in continuous education. I believe it is important for a boss to learn different leadership skills and be open to improvement since this could help him/her work with different types of people and increase productivity in a small business.

  8. Christina Castaldo

    From my own experience, I have learned that being prepared to ask questions is a great way of learning. I have also learned that being prepared to ask questions in a job interview is a critical part of any interview. Interviewers want people they are interviewing to ask questions because it shows the candidate has interest in the company and care about their potential future working there. The article discusses points that an interviewee should base their questions around. I found this article to be beneficial to me because I will hopefully be interviewing for jobs within the next couple months. It is important to find something you love within the company you want to work for because it makes everything more enjoyable. I know that whatever job I end up getting after college I want to truly be interested in and love. I believe that this will allow me to maximize my results in the work force. The third point on tactics is extremely important in any job. Continuous learning is important in order to do the best job you can in any position. A person that wants to be the best they can be within a given position should always be improving their knowledge and skills.

  9. Wonderful article that truly showed the important of having a strong passion in life no matter your current or potential financial state. I believe in following your passions in life as they are what will truly make you feel fulfilled and happy.

    For myself, photography has been a passion for the past seven years. Due to it, I have started my own business and grown my customer base over time. My favorite aspect of photography is getting to know my clients, and retaining their interest in my artistry year after year as I get the opportunity to watch their family grow. Being passionate about your career and those in a particular company is truly crucial as exhibited by this article. One must not only focus on what money can bring you, but how one can utilize their passions to benefit the lives of many while following their dreams along the way.

    I hope that I can utilize the virtues and ethics that have been interwoven into my classes at The Catholic University of America to truly bring about change and positive working conditions for all that I cross paths with. The little things are what make a difference in others, and just striving to do my best everyday in the office and seeking my passions is what I hope to do and continue throughout all facets of my life.

  10. Wonderful article as always!

    I really appreciated the passion that the boss had for his career and his co-workers. That shows true compassion in the business field and goes a long way for employees. The fact that the boss was content with his current lifestyle, and would only spend extra money on hair hair was quite the testament to his love for his career. I hope that after graduation I can find a career that I truly enjoy and one which enriches my current skill sets and expands my professional network. While the future may seem to be a mystery today, graduation, and finding the “career of my dreams” will be here before we know it!

  11. Kathryn Hollingsworth

    I found this article very interesting because it showed many of the “behind the scenes” ideas of how a boss should learn about his or her employees so that when making leadership decisions, he or she can ensure the most unanimously positive outcome. When the nine HR professionals were asked employee benefits they wanted, this showed a positive leadership gesture because those under the leader were being included in decision making. I also found it very interesting that in this article, they discussed JJ Abrams in relation to the amount of money made by certain people. I think it is important that no matter the money, you are pursuing something (in this case, a job) that you love, no matter the pay. In this situation, the person being interviewed had a high salary, yet it was as though that did not matter to him. This is the kind of person who makes a great leaders because they ignore the benefits and fully enjoy the work. Leaders need to be committed to the job. Touching upon the subject of love, as mentioned in this article, it is important for those you have working for you, as well as leaders, to love those that they are working with, as well as what they are doing. This subject and the topic of money, both tie together nicely.

  12. I found this article very insightful, very practical and very helpful, especially as my final year in college is slowly beginning to wind down. As someone who has the desire to go into small business post grad, these 3 core values to consider and question while working with small business came to be very helpful for me. The 3 being Love, Strategy and Tactics. To me, the biggest one that hit me the hardest was Love. Of course, I feel as though some people may think this aspect is not necessary to bring into business, kind of like how people say that feelings and emotions should not play a role in a Doctor’s career. For me, Love is the most important aspect out of the three. Working for a business, no matter how big or small, takes a huge toll on your life (for some, it even becomes their life). If you are not being appreciated, told you are worthy, told you are important and impactful to the company (well, if you are actually doing so), then what is the point of putting all of your time and effort? The great thing about small business is that this aspect is shown — a lot. Small business appreciates every level of work, every move that is made, every decision that is chosen, and I think that is very important. You don’t want to work for someone who would rather use their money to open a marina than use it for the overall good, to contribute to all, to contribute to something more important. Not that personal goals aren’t important, but I can see how that would come off as hurtful to an employee. Overall, this article was very insightful and I appreciated it a lot.

  13. Kathryn Hollingsworth

    I think that it is incredibly important to ask questions to your employer in an interview. I strongly believe that the business place is a two-way street when it comes to the relationship between a boss and his or her employee. If you are not going to be happy in a job, you should not take it. By asking questions to your interviewer, as well as responding to questions that they ask, you are able to get a good or better grasp on the environment that you’re potentially entering. On the topic of being committed and in love with your job, I think that this is extremely important. People who are only working for money do not share in the passion of the company as a whole. If there is no passion in the work that employees are doing, the company will not thrive. On the topic of education, I completely agree that, “life-long-learning is the hallmark of leaders.” I think that the business world is constantly changing and goals are always shifting and expanding. Due to this, employees and their bosses need to be flexible and willing to learn and practice new methods and techniques. If there is no desire to learn and grow, companies will not expand.

  14. Working in a small business is hard work and in order to be successful, requires dedication and commitment. Often there is not a large team of employees to rely on. The three “golden rules” make a lot of sense. Feel the love, be passionate and enjoy what you do, and make sure that there are opportunities for your team to engage in professional development and education that will not just benefit your company, but benefit them too. Why is it important to really like your partners and co-workers? Because chances are you are going to be spending a lot of time together and when things get tough, and they will, it will be hard to stay together if you really don’t like each other. Second, it is critical to be enjoy what you are doing – no matter what the compensation. In most small businesses, you are not going to make a lot of money, at least for several years. If you are loving what you are doing, then chances are when the going gets tough, you will be a lot more motivated to keep on going. The third important factor, is continuing education and professional development. Providing staff with the opportunity for continued education tells them you value their professional growth. Although your company will benefit from their new knowledge, education is something that is for them, and increases their importance to your company.

  15. I believe having questions ready to ask your interviewer is a crucial part of the interview process. it shows you came prepared and having a willing to want to learn more than what is just presented to you. In this article there are three topics that professor Yoest talks about to help the interviewee center their questions around. While looking for jobs a candidate should use these three topics to look for jobs. It is equally as important for the employee to want to work for a company as it is for a company to desire the employee. when applying for a job an applicant should think about his or her 5 year plan within the company. The three topics professor Yoest brought up in, love, strategy and tactic, can be used to try and understand if a company is appropriate for the employees future plans. An employee wants to be desired by a company; if he or she are desired by the company he or she is more likely to be happy working for the company and continue to work diligently there. The employee is also more likely to stay and work there for a longer period of time.

  16. What a great read!

    This article motivates me so much to be able to learn from my current leaders as I become one. I believe that even all leaders have here own leaders that you can always follow. There never is a point where you are not learning or becoming a better leader because any conversation, meeting, and time spent with someone is a knowledgeable experience. The business world is a garden and we are all just picking the beautiful fruit from it so that we may help others, and then in such a matter, help ourselves.

    I always love reading this article because I am remind of how to always be willing to give back and that is what virtue in business and especially what we are taught at The Catholic University of America is all about, contributing to the common good. So by having already skilled people teaching, and leading, you are just improving the good of the business as well as peoples careers.

    You always want to be a giver not a receiver, because when you do for others there is way more success, knowledge and happiness done on to yourself.

    Thanks for such great read!

  17. As I was reading this post I was able to connect personally with the examples. Having the passion for what you are doing is an essential quality that managers need if they want their company, employees and themselves to succeed. Having the love and passion provides the manager with the focus they need to keep the company growing and developing over time. This directly relates to question 3; what classes are you taking now? Providing training, education and employee development will keep your employees engaged in the company and keeps the company to look to the future for next steps. I have had managers and bosses in the last couple of years that did not care about the work they were doing and started counting down the hours until they could leave when they walked in. This created a negative work environment with very little integration between the staff. We had a very high turnover rate in employees because they would go to a different job where the management was better and there was a positive work environment. However, in many of my internships, I have had excellent managers that showed love for the work they were doing and had an excellent strategy to get the job done. They were open to new ideas and created a productive positive work environment. Going forward with my career, I plan to use these questions.

  18. This article is very important for business students trying to identify the right mentor during undergrad and post graduate. Usually mentees and prospective employees are the ones being interviewed to see if they’re fit for the position, but no one ever interviews their potential advisors to make sure they are competent leaders for younger individuals. It is tremendously important that students have mentors and advisors who have the same mindset, value the same things, and will be an overall help to the mentee in the future. In article Professor Yoest talks about love for the person. While that is great point, I also believe that while the advisor or mentee should have love for the person they should also have a love or passion for what they do. To be more specific, one should love being a leader and giving advice to help aid others in their journey to success. Honorability and tactfulness are also two other very important aspects that are important in leadership. One trait that was not mentioned in the article was the idea of accountability. Apart of leadership is being accountable as a mentor or advisor. Having a leader who will vouch for you when opportunities arise is essential for all mentees and employees. That is something that I always look for in a mentor or advisor! Overall, this article was very insightful, as it has reminded to assess and apply leadership qualities to my personal experiences.

  19. This article gives great insight on different perspectives of leaders. The first thing that pops into my mind when I think of a leader is the meaning behind it. Leaders are meant to motivate, and their main role is to motivate their people to think as productively and efficiently as possible. This article shows how leaders make it a priority to care about their employees and ask life questions to accomplish this. More importantly, they ask questions as it pertains to emotions and integrity. My favorite example was when JJ Abrams was asked what he plans to do with all his money, and he didn’t know what money the interviewer was talking about. Abrams was too involved with his love of making movies to worry about taking a vacation or buying a new car with that money. Finally, the third point, tactics or “strategies”, is a key aspect of business. In this day in age, learning is always one of the most beneficial things when you want to be successful in the workforce. In order to build your status within a particular company, you have to learn new things every day, take different tests, and many other various things. Learning is an ongoing and permanent aspect of our lives, you will never know everything, and there is always something else to be known.

  20. The point Professor Yoest is making here is clear. If your boss does not like their job, why will you? In the professional world, most of us are employed “at will” meaning we can be hired, fired, and quit at any time. Entire departments can leave and decide to make their own company, or unionize, if they see fit. In a world like this, we need to be especially wise when interviewing our interviewer, because, as Professor Yoest points out, they may prefer sitting on a boat somewhere instead of teaching you how to succeed. Your goal is to figure out if this boss is passionate about their job, and why. Does he/she love to learn, love the people in the company, love teaching new hires, or just love the money? What motivates them? To squeeze this information out of your boss, Professor Yoest uses a three-step checklist, love, strategy, and tactics. Finding out if your prospective boss loves their job, loves their employees, and loves the company is a good indication of if you will enjoy your time working there, he suggests. Strategy is how you entice the boss to give up the information you want. How they feel. Your tactics are the art of the operation. Combine them and you have a plan that gives insight into what drives the company, what motivates the boss, and how you will ultimately fare as an employee.

  21. “3 Questions for Mentors and Advisors in Small Business” is a unique take on basic necessities we as human beings need to be effective leaders, as well as effective team members. Love goes beyond the roots of simply the emotion; love in this regard, is more. Looking at it from a work perspective, if we don’t love what we are doing, then why do we do it? If your boss does not love what they are doing, in turn your boss is not going to love the things you are doing for them. As employees, we want to be more than just a worker; and as Professor Yoest explains, people want to be loved and they want to feel the love there. A strong, well-defined strategy is something that can often times be overlooked. Communication goes a long way in strategy. From the top of an organization all the way to the bottom, communicating the vision and listening to others opinions can help achieve the goals set forth. Listening can also be useful because often times, proper judgement can be clouded by our own ideas; who knows, what if another team member has an alternative step to the solution? As a whole it could carry out the plan, strategy, whatever it may be that much more effective. The most important take I have from this is the importance of continuing education. Never in your life will you have perfect knowledge on anything, there is always room for more knowledge. Continued self-education is more powerful than anyone may ever know because it offers limitless possibilities.

  22. What a great read!

    This article hit home for me. As I am getting older and looking for jobs and getting interviews it has become a reoccurring idea for me to make sure that I love what I am doing. In this article it really shows that the love for what you are doing drastically out ways any form of money or status that a certain job might give to you. Yes, a glamourous job that pays well and provides you with a way to support yourself and possibly a family is very important because you need money in order to survive however the human desire to enjoy what you are doing for the rest of your life seems to be more important. Another aspect of this article that stuck out to me was the fact that you should never let your boss know that there might be something that you would rather be doing than working for them. This would show that since you don’t really care what happens to the company you won’t do all that you can to help the company grow. In a corporate atmosphere the boss has to surround themselves with people that are there to help them in any way that they can and will push themselves to do better no matter what. Many business students would profit from reading this.

  23. When reading this article, it made me think about how hard it is for a small business to be successful. There are a few things that will try to do that: hard work, dedication, and commitment. How are you supposed to be successful if you can’t even depend on your co-workers or boss. This all starts with love and compassion also. You need to trust each other and love one another to make sure everyone is doing their jobs and getting them done to be successful. You need to really love your co-workers also because you will be spending ungodly amounts of time with them and this could cause inside problems in the business and that will cause inefficiency. For example, when I worked as a busser at a Italian restaurant, the other bussers and I became really close and it became a lot easier and faster to work together. We had methods together in doing things, like making sure everyone’s cups is filled with water or how fast we could buss a table together. The part in the article, about how these workers wanted to be educated with knowledge is amazing. This will create more efficiency and cause the business to go up in profit, meaning the workers will get paid more. Knowledge is power, and this will also cause the workers to be able to work together better and come up with faster and better solutions to their business’ problems.

  24. I truly enjoyed reading this article written by Professor Yoest. He brings up important points based on love, strategy, and tactics. His mentioning of love stuck with me the most, as I feel it is incredibly important to ensure that you are passionate about your work. Exhibiting love and passion for your work is essential for a manager or leader. This is likely to keep your employees engaged in the work they do for the company. If the manager or leader of a company or group does not exhibit this quality, it can lead to a negative work environment. A leader is meant to be looked on as an example and if it seems as though the boss does not want to be in work, it will affect the overall morale of the group. As the leader of an on-campus organization, I strive to show the love and passion I have for what we do. If I arrive at a meeting or rehearsal in a bad mood and show that I do not want to be there, it affects how that rehearsal goes and how the members of my group respond. Overall, this article is definitely helpful to the students in the Busch School and will help me in my own personal experiences.

  25. I found this article very useful because it is unique in the sense that it is preparing us to challenge, or question, our bosses rather than be prepared to be questioned by them. The three questions set forth in the article are excellent ways to identify a true leader or mentor as one enters the business world. I found the question, “Does he love me?”, an interesting one to use while dealing with business. Once it was further explained, it made more sense to me. It is much easier and more rewarding to work with a business partner, coworker, or boss who has good feelings and intentions toward you, rather than working with one who is “miserable.” Another very interesting point that was raised in this article that resonated with me was that boss’, and people in higher positions, should still care about education and learning. A higher-level company employee or executive should not only be knowledgeable in the first place, but should always desire to know more to help them drive the company further. I found this perspective valuable as it sets a good example to all employees that everyone in the company should try to better themselves and the business.

  26. This article was very insightful on the expectations and mindset a boss and employee should have coming into a business environment or interview. I think it is imperative for an employee to see the passion that a boss has not only for the progression of the company but the employees who are helping reach that goal. In my personal experience I worked with a manager who was not passionate about his job so in turn the store we worked at had a decrease in sales and everyone’s morale and productivity went down as well. This experience has made me aware to the points to lookout for when being interviewed for a job. I have made sure that both the boss and I have a mutual passion for the company we are investing time into. The most important made that has continued to inspire me regardless of what position I am in within my workplace is the desire for knowledge and progression heavily outweigh any financial success or leisure time that could be given. The question “does he love me?” is meant to help the interviewee realize that there is a sense of accountability that should be respected by the boss. There must be a willingness to conitniously spread passion and knowledge in the workplace in order for a goal to be met with true success.

  27. Many people do not realize that interviews are a two way street. People often get intimidated by the interviewer and the confidence that they had walking into the room quickly disappears when they sit down. When thinking of questions to ask a possible employer often times these 3 questions of love, strategy, and tactics do not come into mind. But these are crucial things to ask to know if this company is about to be the right and proper fit for you. When looking for a career people should not be chasing the money rather they should be trying to find something they love to do. Trying to persuade someone to do something they hate is very challenging to do but the instance you bring something they love into the equation their minds are quickly changed. Knowing a person’s strategy is key into whether or not you want to get into business with them. Someone’s strategy reveals their true end goal which in many cases will not align with your own. Being aware of someone’s strategy beforehand will help you avoid being eventually hurt by this person when something better arises. Finally what tactics is this boss using to keep up with its competitors. If the person does not believe that improvement of him/herself or their employees through education is important to their employees then why would you want to work for a stagnant company.

  28. This article explains three important questions that a subordinate should have for a new boss, or superior. These questions deal with the level of dedication and passion that your superior should have for your mission and field. If you cannot trust or believe in your boss, you are less likely to want to put effort and care into the work you provide for them. The three themes used in this article are personally important for me when having respect for my boss. I have had bosses in the past who have not been passionate and dedicated to their work. In contrast, having a boss who is invested in the idea, mission, and direction of the company promote a healthy working environment. Having a leader who you can feel the love from starts to motivate and energize you to want to work for them. After that, finding a leader who is not solely dedicated to the financial gain promotes more dedication from you. Finally, a leader who has a desire to build up their human capital after they obtain the right people proves that leader knows how to build his business. Growing and improving the knowledge of your followers is just as important as picking the right employees.

  29. This was a great read that I thought was really beneficial. I like the fact that you mentioned it is important that a potential employee prepare some questions to ask the boss. Often times when individuals are interviewing for a position it may feel as if the conversation is one-sided and the boss is just slamming them with questions. However, it is important to try to implement the “love, strategy, and tactics” questions that were discussed in the article. It may seem rare to be discussing whether a boss loves you. This is truly important because it will me a big difference if the boss truly cares for his employees. No matter what the other positives are, if the boss doesn’t care for you work will be a dreaded place. Another good point is getting to know what the boss’s strategy is. Sometimes a company may not be the best fit for you and that’s fine. This is why it is important to know how you personally work best and to figure out the boss’s strategy for the company. Last, tactics is a good topic to close on. I just had this conversation at a speaker panel a couple days ago. We were talking about how it is good to make sure there are ways for you to move up and excel in the company. Becoming more experienced and improving is something I’m sure no one would argue against. Once you eventually get a job don’t settle and become comfortable. Keep looking to grow and better yourself for the company.

  30. Daniella Montesano

    This article is very interesting and puts a new perspective on how I look at interview questions for a small business owner or entrepreneur. I am someone who likes genuine people and by finding someone who will love what they do, who you are as a business person, and whatever job he/she will be working on you will be sure to find a candidate who will be passionate about your business. The strategy question is an interesting one. I have mixed feelings about it; if someone hit the lottery then they are obviously going to want to do something they never go before having that money or something that helps themselves and their family. So if someone answered it by saying they would use it in a way to advance my business I would feel like they were just telling me what I wanted to hear. That is why I do not think I would want to ask that question. I would want to ask a question referencing strategy in some way, but not the “What would you do if you hit the lottery?” Finally, I loved the section stating that a boss should always be learning. At my internship this summer, my boss was constantly attending seminars to advance his knowledge, giving his employees new reading materials, and encouraging his employees to attend workshops if they had the opportunity to. I hope to be a boss who is constantly learning and focused on continuous improvement one day.

  31. This article was very intriguing in that it switched the role in terms of who exercises power or authority. Usually the boss is viewed as the one who is in charge of making decisions and judging the actions of others. But in the article, Professor Yoest emphasizes the importance of taking control as the employee and getting to know the boss by asking him or her various questions. These questions focused on love, strategy, and tactics. Love and compassion is key when dealing with people. In order for a positive relationship to be built, there must be care concerning one another, especially in a business setting. If the boss does not love his employees, the employees will not be motivated to work for the boss, which will result in diminished work morale and poor performance. The question that revolved around strategy was, “What would you do if you hit the lottery?” Movie director JJ Abrams had an unexpected response: “Hair care.” He said this because he was not concerned about money. At the end of the day, he was still going to do what he had the passion for and that was making movies. A sudden large sum of cash was not going to cause him to quit. This really shows where a boss’ priorities are. An ideal boss should be concerned about developing people and achieving organizational goals, not just making money. When making money is the main goal, bosses tend to lose sight of the little things that mean the most. The article definitely gave new insights that are valuable to both employees and bosses.

  32. The article “3 Questions for Mentors and Advisors in Small Business”, by Professor Yoest, mentions three important questions you should be prepared to ask your boss. These are related to 3 main topics, Love, Strategy, and Tactics. Love means “Does he love me?”. The example Professor Yoest gave was great. I believe there has to be love and then everything else will probably work out. The second question relates to strategy and connecting to the workplace. I really like this question. If a potential employee spoke about what they would do if they won the lottery and it had nothing to do with the job, that would be a dead giveaway that they aren’t passionate about it. The third question relates to tactics. The question “What classes are you taking now?” is important because it shows that the boss is willing to learn new things. Any boss who is open minded and loves to learn new things wants to hear what his employees have to say and he values them.

    When I go for interviews I always try to ask questions that show that the boss truly cares about his employees and not just getting the job done.

  33. After reading the article “3 Questions for Mentors and Advisors in Small Business” by Professor Yoest, a few points he made in particular stood out to me. Asking questions is an essential part of life, in order to gain clarity or new perspectives, but asking the right, insightful questions can make an even bigger impact on you. Professor Yoest’s reference of his business partner, Jesse Brown, and his rule for taking on new clients came as also a surprise to me. “Does he love me?” is the question he raises because “if there love’s there, all else will fall into place.” I think this is a great question to keep in mind due to the fact that real sincere, emotions lay the foundation for relationships of trust, dependability and respect. The other question that stood out to me as well was in regard to tactics, “what classes are you taking now?” I believe that it is wise to select classes in school that will provide you with a valuable learning experience and help build your skill set for the future, but graduating college should not be the end of one’s quest to expand their knowledge. I agree with Professor Yoest’s statement that, “education and continuous improvement is the one thing every ‘boss’ should care about,” in addition, I think it should be something that every individual also cares about. No one person will ever know everything there is to know in the world, so it should be a priority of people to take any opportunity to expand their knowledge and keep their minds open to learning in order to improve themselves.

  34. I found it extremely interesting how you pointed out the necessity for love and passion for whatever form of work you are doing. I believe this is often times overlooked for things like monetary gain or status. However, at the end of the day money and status alone will not make us happy. In fact if one is doing something they don’t like these benefits may come to entrap a person and make them miserable. This is clearly unhealthy, because the majority of time spent awake as an adult is typically dedicated to work. So in order to live a happy and positive life one should do work that they actually love. Furthermore, a love for what one is doing creates a mutual love when paired with others who have this same passion for work. This allows us as individuals to come together and create a powerful collective that can achieve tasks unimaginable on one’s own. At the end of the day work is a huge component of our life and is a huge part of what defines us. Thus, it should be treated with this respect and importance!

  35. Mari Nicole Rosales

    The idea that a boss should advocate for continuous learning really struck a chord with me. As I prepare for my future career, one of my requirements in taking a job in knowing that they will support my desire to further my education through a graduate degree. I do not simply want a graduate degree in hopes of climbing up the leadership ladder. Rather, I aspire to obtain further education in order to learn more. Specifically, I am a business management major, but I aspire for a career in journalism. As I begin to break into the journalism industry, I yearn for the opportunity to receive that further academic, formal education in journalism. Adult and further education is a paved road to improvement. This is not only through oneself but also on a team. If the boss does not care about the desire to further one’s knowledge, they ultimately do not care about the improvement of the team as a whole. Before reading this article, I always looked at companies as a whole to see if they support education. Now, I understand that I should look closer to see if my own boss would support my desire to continue learning.

  36. After reading this article, it struck me that a successful business is not only a well-run business operation but a community of people working together to reach a common goal. Hiring the best candidates to fulfill company goals is correct, but these same people must connect on a deeper level. Monetary gains cannot fuel the company’s drive forever. A boss, in the truest since of the word, commands the attention of his people, guides them, and most importantly builds them up in the process. As touched on in the article, love for what you do and continuing education are key factors in sustainable, efficient work. Money comes and goes but passion for your co-workers and your work should remain constant. People are not robots, your boss should not be either. A people-driven company will become a results-based company!

  37. This is a wonderful article that emphasizes the importance of three important questions that must be asked either to remind oneself of the reasons they are a manager or for employees to questions their manager’s motives. Having experience as a subordinate, I think this article has valuable information for employees to consider the question; do they love and have a passion for what they do. This past summer, I worked at Lilly Pulitzer, a retail brand, as their retail management intern. I enjoyed every moment of this internship because I loved what I did every day and I enjoyed working with others. As an intern, I shadowed my store manager to understand her daily responsibilities and how she created a positive work culture. I noticed that depending on her attitude towards tasks would affect how employees would perform. When she was dedicated to getting something done this would encourage the employees to work hard. I believe this article is important for both managers and employees to read because it shows how passion and dedication will lead to positive outcomes. Lastly, as an intern and working closely with my manager, I realized that subordinates need encouragement and motivation to succeed. Not everyone is self-driven and this article emphasizes the importance of encouragement.

  38. What a great article for someone who is in college wondering what they would like to do post-college and even someone who is out in the work world already. This hits so many aspects of questions we ask ourselves everyday, but cannot seem to find the answer for. Finding value in your profession and most importantly finding that you are passionate about your profession and position is what everyone wants. Breaking this down into Love, Strategy, and Tactics gives the reader real life examples of what it means to be where you are meant to be. Often times, I have found myself at either internships or other employment feeling like I am just “going through the motions” and wondering what the purpose of it was, and if it was the right fit for me. Putting love at the forefront of answering such an important question, puts the rest of your questions in perspective. To be in love with what you do or with who you are working (inviting on your team, appointing as leader of your company, etc) means to value that person or thing (profession) for what they are entirely, rather for what they can offer you (profit, success, etc). Success is not money, nor is it happiness. Working for a “boss” who sees the success of the company in the form of profit, rather than value of serving its employees and customer does not have the capability to lead an organization with value. An employee who is thinking of what they will buy with all the money they make is not an employee who gives love or has love for what they are doing, therefore, no one or nothing else will follow in that “success”. As a leader, one is not to see their employees as a means of anything, rather, it should see them as irreplaceable pieces in the puzzle. A leader who continues to educate him/her self can communicate that same knowledge to those he leads and the rest will follow. Wonderful Article!

  39. No matter what you are doing, you are in a constantly learning. When you are asking your future boss or advisor questions, you are still learning something. Learning is one of the most essential parts of business. The best leaders and businesspeople will say that they want and can always learn more. More importantly, walking into an interview being prepared to ask questions is critical. This article presents three major key points: love, strategy, and tactics. These three things should be evident in your boss. This is a great article to read for future businesspeople because there may be one day that you are someone’s boss or on a board of advisors. Being your team’s role model, it is important to always put your best foot forward. Always being in a constant state of learning means someone can learn from you. If someone is in a mindset that they do not have to learn anymore, that person will never get anywhere in life. Overall, this was perfect for me because I am beginning phases of internship searching and I can be more prepared with questions to ask my future boss.

  40. Prior to reading this, I always struggled with preparing to ask my future boss questions during an interview. I am aware that asking questions shows that I am really interested in the company but I never knew what to base my questions around. The three key topics that Professor Yoest explains will help me figure out if the company is the perfect fit for what I want to do. What I found most interesting was the topic on strategy. If I asked my boss what his plans were with his money and he gives the response JJ Abrams did, I would definitely want to work for him because I can see that he is so passionate about what he does. I know that he would be invested in me rather than just all the money he makes. I feel as though nobody takes into consideration how important love is when it comes to a job decision. In regards to education, continuous learning is crucial in order to succeed at your job. This is something everyone should care about because having the opportunity to expand your knowledge can only benefit you. Overall, this article was very insightful and I will most definitely take it into consideration when job searching.


  41. This was an Excellent Article in which Yoest shares his take from personal experience on the ideal dynamic between employer and employee. The standard work paradigm has job prospects believe that the interview process is one in which the interviewer/employer/boss has all the power in his or her hands to make a hire, while sharply scrutinizing the qualifications and aptitude of prospective employees. The potential employee, however, has a responsibility to determine if “the boss’ and the potential place of employment are a good fit for him. Although the ‘big boss’ holds the job position to hire and fire people as needed, Yoest introduces the 3 pillars of a healthy work relationship, one in which boss and employee are held together through love, strategy, and tactics. I believe that Love is the most important out of the three pillars; love ensures that ‘big boss’ and employee both hold an amount of mutual love and respect for each other. The Love exhibited by ‘big boss’ to the employee is indicative of how a business is being operated in concern for its customers. Having Love for employees and promoting a healthy workplace environment in turn translates to love for customers.

  42. After reading the article “ 3 Questions for Mentors and Advisors in Small Business” many points and thoughts came to my mind. The major takeaway I got from the article is about doing what you are passionate about. I relate a lot to this because I’m actually studying something that has to do with what I love the most which is sports and would like to make a career in the sport industry. For a manager it is important that he feels happy and comfortable on what he does because it will help him do his tasks and also have the ability to help other employees. This article also talks about how important it is for an employee to always be improving its knowledge and education because at the end it will benefit the company where he works because the job will be done better. In the article we see an example of nine human resources directors who are asked what was one benefit that the employees would like to have. Surprisingly, they answered education. The results after granting more education to those employees were that the employee retention rate increased since the employees felt good at what they do because they learned more. Last but not least, the article also talks about how you need to feel the love of a manager in a business. This reminded me of the phrase “Happiness is Love” and how if you are in a job that you don’t feel happy or joy of working their because of the relation you have with other coworkers or the way your boss treats you, then you don’t feel love and will never be happy or enjoying what you do at your job.

  43. In business the only true way to grow and succeed is through constant dedication to bettering yourself through means like reading or taking a class or asking HR what do my employees want of me? I personally have never been in charge of anyone but myself; (except for a few training days) so sometimes going to ask the big boss can be an intimidating task to climb, but, when done correctly can help to make you look better in the eyes of your boss. Being able to ask the right questions while doing your job great (and doing more then what is asked of you) will help you to look independent and a person that can be relied on. While I think it is important for someone to “love you” it falls to the wayside for me as I rather work with someone that respects me and knows that I will complete my task. I look at it like this my mom still loves me even when I don’t do the chores the way she wanted, right? So, what is the difference at work? Sometimes your boss will favor someone who does not do their job well and working together to problem-solve with these kinds of people is the worst. I do not have to love a person to respect the fact that they do good work, I may not love them or even like them, but I can rely on them to be professional and to go above and beyond with their work.

  44. I have always believed that education is one of the most critical parts of a business because it creates equality. Without training, some employees know more about the company than others, creating inequality in the workplace. Having all your employees educated puts them on an even playing field, and that is when their true abilities appear. The questions that identify either a good or bad boss are also crucial because when they answer those questions, you will see their real intentions. Although the idea of love may seem unusual, especially when talking about a boss, it is one of the most important aspects. If your business runs with love and care, it will do well because you, and your employees, are passionate about what you are doing. In business, if your boss knows how to be strategic, the company is already off to a good start. To answer both questions, “Does he love me?” and “What would you do if you won the lottery?”, you need to have tactics, how are you going to run your business through education? If a boss says that they are in it for the money, rather than the actual business, employees, or customers, that does not depict a good future for the organization. A good boss believes in their business and continuous learning, allowing their employees to learn as much as they can about their organization.

  45. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

    I have never considered asking these questions to future bosses or employees, but they are important to consider. As a senior, I am beginning to look into post-grad employment options, and I would like to work for a company that has similar values to my own. I can begin to determine the values of a company by asking the questions of love, tactics, and strategy. Furthermore, I hope to manage a law firm one day, and these questions will be vital in determining which applicants I invite into my practice. I think the most impactful question to ask would be “What would you do if you won the lottery?” (or a question that poses a similar situation). Ideally, an interviewee would still want to work for your company even if they came into a lot of money, showing that they are passionate about the job. I liked the anecdote about J.J. Abrams, because it shows how much he loves making movies and TV shows. The money was an afterthought for him.

    Not only are these questions an outward gauge of how dedicated a future employee or boss is to a company, they also provide a good inward reflection of your own dedication to a job or company. If you won the lottery, would you stay at your current job? If so, you are in the right place.

  46. This article is interesting because passion is a very important aspect of life. Passion is a strong emotion that can help a person do incredible things. Recently in class we had a guest speaker who reiterated the point that you should have passion for anything that you do. I agree that there is no point in doing something if you do not care for or give 100% towards. Another reason why I found this article intriguing was the points made about bosses learning off of his or her workers. I think it is crucial to learn and adapt every day. For s boss to learn off his or her employees, it shows that they are willing to change for the better. A company has a better chance at succeeding if everyone within the business has the willingness to change for the better. Learning from failures in life is also a great tool to succeed. If you are able to accept you failed and choose to use that in the future, you are by far better off then the person who still dwells on the past.

  47. I felt the most important takeaway from the article was the emphasis on education. I enjoyed the quote from Ben Franklin when he said “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” There is a lot of emphasis in the world today for education because of the benefits. Many jobs today require a strong education, and generally the more education, the higher the salary and benefits. With a strong base education, you can use that information to help others and promote yourself in a leadership role. Likewise, you can use your education as a base foundation to think critically and uniquely in an entrepreneurial role. I believe second to education, however, is love. It is important to have plenty of knowledge, but motivation and a strong work ethic comes from love. The more love for something you have the more time and effort you’ll put into it. If one can find an employee that encompasses these two qualities within their role. There’s no question that they will be very successful for your company.

  48. 3 Questions for mentors and advisors in small business.
    The topic was great; it had a lot of emotions and a lot of things that the writer learned from his boss. It even made a lot of since when he talked about business and love where it lades to the conclusion if the bossiness is made without care and love it will not work out for long. No the writer was not about the love of the money; he was talking about the real reason behind the business. Also another critical point it was the strategy was it your plans for this small business that you own now. And what are the tactics that involve your hiring workers for you, what are you looking for. Are you as a business owner looking for a person to do the job that you want him to do or are you looking for improvement? This topic should be read by business owners to open there eyes to more possibilities or are you just trying to get money.

  49. The topic was great; it had a lot of emotions and a lot of things that the writer learned from his boss. It even made a lot of since when he talked about business and love where it lades to the conclusion if the bossiness is made without care and love, it will not work out for long. No the writer was not about the love of the money; he was talking about the real reason behind the business. Also, another critical point it was the strategy was it your plans for this small business that you own now. And what are the tactics that involve your hiring workers for you, what are you looking for. Are you as a business owner looking for a person to do the job that you want him to do or are you looking for improvement? This topic should be read by business owners to open there eyes to more possibilities or are you just trying to get money.

  50. Great article! I especially appreciated the second question. Our Business Blogger mentions, in another post on how to hire the best people for the job, that the ideal candidate is content where he is, because if he is not content in the present he won’t likely be content in the future. Here, we see the flip-side: a boss should be happy where he is. If he’s not content where he is, well, you’re part of that world he’s not content with. So if he wins that lottery, if he receives the opportunity to follow his other dream, you will be left behind. If you’re simply here for the job itself, this isn’t a problem, but if you’re looking for a solid, reliable, and present mentor then a situation like this just won’t work.

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