— Kurt and Patricia Wright, Breaking the Rules
Most of us take asking questions for granted. They are a part of almost every conversation. We seemingly ask questions effortlessly and naturally all the time.
However, therein lies the potential problem. Because we take questions for granted, we rarely take the time to give them more thoughtful consideration.
But once we experience the remarkable power of asking great questions, we pay a lot more attention to the questions we ask ourselves and others.
My opportunity to experience the power of questions came in 2012.
For the previous two years, I had interviewed top thinkers and experts to discover their best ideas and strategies for helping organizations improve.
These interviews, which formed the basis of my series 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success, all began with the same simple question: “What is your best performance or process improvement strategy that has worked well for you and your clients?”
Interestingly, no one I interviewed stated that we should focus on a methodology or model, but that's exactly what almost everyone does!
Instead, the overwhelming best strategy for improvement success from 30 industry experts was to ask great questions that help organizations get in touch with the ideal end-state they’d like to achieve and why.
On a more personal basis
I witnessed perhaps one of the most powerful demonstrations of the power of questions at an industry conference.
At the conference, I saw IT consultant Dale Emery help others solve many difficult challenges simply by asking good questions.
In fact, Dale's reputation for asking great questions was so well known, people were lining up just for an opportunity to have Dale ask them a question!
In a subsequent interview with Dale, he told me that he uses questions to:
Help people use skills and knowledge they already have, but for some reason, are not applying to their current goals or activities. People always have knowledge and skills that, for whatever reason, are just not occurring to them in the moment. So I try to help people tap into their existing abilities.
What is it about questions that make them so powerful?
In an interview with Steve Gladis, an expert on asking questions and the author of The Coach-Approach Leader, his thoughts and experiences reflect my own.
Asking questions helps us to:
- Slow down and be more mindful and deliberative
- Discover the real challenge to be solved
- Understand the impact of an issue or challenge
- Envision the ideal end state we are trying to reach
- Establish an intention, moving us toward meaningful and deliberate action
What are the most important questions we can ask ourselves?
Because asking new and better questions is so powerful, I decided to make them a top priority in my interviews with pioneering business and thought leaders here at Forward Thinking Workplaces.
In fact, three of the six core questions I ask in every interview focus on uncovering new and better questions we can ask ourselves and each other.
At the first Forward Thinking Workplaces workshop of the year on January 26, 2022, we will focus on the most important questions we can ask ourselves.
At this workshop, we'll learn exciting new questions from 80 pioneering leaders that will prepare you for greater success in 2022 and beyond. All attendees will receive a free copy of our most recently updated version of our book, Most Important Questions for Ourselves.
Learn more and register for the workshop using the button below:
I hope to see you at the workshop on January 26, 2022!
To your forward-thinking life & great success!
Bill Fox, Founder, Forward Thinking Workplaces