When I used to work in strategic management consulting, my bosses often asked me to distill very complex issues into a 30-60 second answer. It was called the elevator response. Working for huge clients, often banks, finance ministries, etc. with as many as 10,000+ employees, I would be given the dream scenario of riding up to my team somewhere in the headquarters building, and suddenly finding myself alone with the CEO or head of the company inside the elevator. He looks at me, and says “so how’s it going?” Not wanting to waste that precious minute of time alone, you were expected to use it very wisely.
So what would you ask??? Assume you happened to get into an elevator and you realized the only other person in it was one of the current Presidential candidates, the one you are currently thinking of voting for. What single question would you ask him or her? He or she could only have 20-30 seconds to respond before the elevator doors opened again. I struggle with this scenario as there is so much I want to ask. Would it be a pointed question, requiring a yes or no response… such as, “Will you encourage the use of birth control as a means to lower population growth?” or would you provide wiggle room with a question like “How do you propose to solve the population problem?” Would you ask about the economy, housing/shelter, job creation, the environment? Or would you focus on his/her qualifications? Perhaps ask his stand on a moral/ethical issue to see if his mettle meets yours… Maybe a “If you saw a raft about to go over a waterfall filled with 30 older taipans and businessmen that collectively produce 20% of the nation’s GDP, and another raft filled with 20 young female public school teachers, which raft would you save, assuming you had the rope and means to save just one?” Frankly, I am not sure what question would pop out of my mouth if presented with this elevator moment… but I was curious what you guys might ask in such a moment? Leave a comment, and let’s keep this above the belt, okay? :)