Will Bachman took my course, Creativity and Personal Mastery, at Columbia Business School nearly two decades ago.
He was a McKinsey consultant then and has since launched Umbrex.com, a site that helps you find a consultant for virtually any kind of project. The majority of consultants in his network cut their teeth at McKinsey, Bain or BCG.
Now for a non-sequitur. I promise to tie it in later.
How well do you know your parents and how are your relations with them?
There will come a time when your parents become your children. Trust me – it will happen. And then they will be gone, and you realize that you are alone, and you never really knew them.
So how do you make sure that you form closer bonds with them before they exit the stage? Many find that conversations are stilted and die out quickly.
The answer is simple – ask them questions which draw them out and get them talking and reminiscing.
What professional goal did you have in your twenties? How did this change over time?
How did your relationship with your spouse change when you became parents? What adjustments did you make?
Is there a friend from your past that you have lost touch with, but still think about?
Do you have a friendship that has stood the test of time? What is a milestone you experienced together?
Can you tell me about a time when a friend profoundly impacted your life or your perspective on something?
Can you tell me about your first serious relationship? How did it begin and how did it end?
What was dating culture like when you were twenty? How did you meet people?
These questions are great conversation starters. And they really help you get to know your parents from a different perspective and at different phases of their lives.
And now back to Will Bachman.
He has compiled a list of 500 questions that you can browse and pick from. These questions are neatly organized by category such as birth and infancy, early childhood, school years etc.. There are more than 50 categories.
All the questions listed above are from his compendium.
You can obtain the entire list by registering here:
And now for my extension. The questions Will has compiled are excellent for helping you know your parents better and building stronger relations with them.
They can also be adapted and used to strengthen ties with your partner or spouse. Going further, you can use many of them to bond with your team at work, with your boss and with your customers.
Your imagination is the only limit to what you can do with this great resource.