How to Use the Exponential Power of 80/20 to Ask Powerful New Questions

How to Use the Exponential Power of 80/20 to Ask Powerful New Questions
Photo by Michał Mancewicz / Unsplash

Leveraging the Exponential Power of 80/20 for Transformative Questions

The interviews we conduct at Forward Thinking Workplaces have become well known for uncovering remarkably powerful insights and strategies. While numerous factors could contribute to this success, a pivotal element is undoubtedly the nature of the questions we ask.

My interview with Perry Marshall marked a turning point in my understanding of why my approach to questioning consistently unearthed intriguing and impactful insights.

Perry introduced me to a profound perspective on the 80/20 rule, illustrating that it's far more than just a business phenomenon we observe. It actually represents a universal principle that's everywhere, capable of transforming not just the outcomes we observe but also the actions we take.

Below is an 80/20-inspired guide designed to transform how you conceive of questions that can unlock surprising insights and results.

Uncovering Deeper Understanding through 80/20 Questions

Adopting the 80/20 principle in crafting questions is about zeroing in on those that are truly pivotal—the ones capable of revealing the most substantial insights. This method enriches our comprehension and the quality of our conversations.

Guide to Formulating Questions with the 80/20 Edge

  1. Drill Down to the Core: Start your quest by honing in on the crux of the matter. What vital nuggets of truth, once unearthed, can shift your understanding in a big way? This is about finding the heartbeat of your inquiry. For example, "How can we create a forward-thinking workplace?"
  2. Spark the Fire with Catalyst Questions: Lean into questions that ignite a deeper dive. It's the "why" and "how" inquiries that cut through the surface reaching into the very fabric of your subject to pull out the threads of truth and insight. For example, "How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?"
  3. Focus on the Game Changers: Aim your questioning laser at those pivotal points where just the right insight can trigger a cascade of change. Think like, "What one tweak here can redefine our outcomes?" For example, "What is the most important question leaders can ask employees?"
  4. Encourage a Deep Dive into Self: Craft questions that aren't just heard but felt. Questions like, "As you look back over the landscape of your journey, which decision stands out as a watershed moment for your success?" are what you’re aiming for. For example, "What is the most important question we can ask ourselves?"
  5. Tread the Path Less Traveled: Dare to ask the questions that others might bypass. Inquiring about unconventional or against-the-grain strategies might just be where the most groundbreaking insights lie hidden. For example, "What do people really lack and long for at work?"

By embracing these strategies, you're not just asking questions; you're embarking on a quest for profound understanding, leveraging the 80/20 rule to cut through the noise and zero in on what truly matters.

The Significance of Deep Listening

The effectiveness of 80/20 questioning is not just in the asking but in the listening. True understanding comes from truly listening to and processing the responses, enabling you to discern the critical insights that provide the most value.

Interestingly, several of our interviews revealed an enlightening new understanding of how our mind's work, which resulted in significantly better listening skills for myself and others. For example, see How to Unleash Your Human Operating System.

Broadening the Application of 80/20 Questions

The utility of 80/20 questioning transcends interviews, serving as a valuable tool in strategy development, problem-solving, and innovation. By concentrating on the essential questions, efforts, and resources can be utilized more efficiently and effectively.

Embracing a New Paradigm

My dialogue with Perry Marshall illuminated the profound capability of the 80/20 principle to not only interpret the world around us but to enhance the caliber of questions we pose. As we navigate the complexities of modern times, let's employ this principle to delve deeper, challenge established norms, and inspire meaningful change.

By harnessing the transformative power of 80/20 in our questions, we open new avenues of perspective and possibility, pushing beyond conventional boundaries to discover what truly matters. Let this guide us as we pursue deeper understanding, question assumptions, and catalyze significant change in the world around us.

To your forward-thinking life & great success!

— Bill

Bill Fox
Shaping Leaders of Tomorrow | Driving Innovation & Transformation in Professional Growth & Workplace Excellence