I like questions. I’m insanely curious about many things. I like questions that shift perspective. David Mullen, in his blog Communications Catalyst, writes about how the smartest thing one can do in a client meeting is ask a question with the intent to understand, not merely with the intent to respond. I like this very much. When you listen with intent to respond, it makes it about you. When you listen with intent to understand, it focuses the conversation on finding a smarter solution to the business need or challenge.
I would advocate even thinking about how you frame your questions. Are you asking a more powerful question? Are you asking questions that create a shift and open up new options and breakdown obstacles?
Here are a few of my favorite powerful questions:
What does success look like?
What can I do to make a greater contribution to the success of this project?
What will it looks like when it works?
What can I learn from this situation?
What is a better way of doing this?
What can we do differently next time?
What else do we need to be successful?
And Managers, ask more powerful questions of your employees. They don’t come to you for answers. They come to you for inspiration. Rather than saying “What I think you should do is…..” Try some of these:
So what did you try?
What did you learn from that?
What else is possible?
So pretend you can fix it, what would happen first?
What do you need to change in order to make that happen?
Do you have a favorite powerful question? I’d love to hear it!