Monday, October 16, 2017

Asking the Right Questions

Asking the Right Questions

by Janet M. Shlaes, PhD

The questions you ask determine your reality and your results. What types of questions do you regularly ask? Do they tend to get you the results that you truly want? The types of questions you regularly ask determine your focus, the information you seek and take in, your overall experience in the world and, most importantly, your results. Leaning to ask the right questions is both a process and an evolutionary journey. Asking questions with conscious intention can result in creativity and next level results. This bold claim holds true across professional and personal realms. A few of my favorite questions that lead to collaboration, enthusiasm, creativity and results include, but are not limited to, the following questions.

If anything were possible, what result would we want to accomplish? This type of question immediately puts us in a “visioning,” rather than a “problem solving” state of mind. The question doesn’t ignore that problems exist; it powerfully puts people in the space of what might be possible when everyone is committed to the same outcome goal. I have personally found that this question is highly effective in both the professional and personal realms and fully aligns with the Appreciative Inquiry model (one of my favorite approaches to creating). An added bonus is that problems, potential and imagined, tend to be eliminated or solved with this approach.

What type of discussion would be the best use of our time? Another version of this is “What type of conversation has the best chance of getting us what we want?” These types of questions are useful when a conversation progresses into a conversation of who is right or wrong or a “blaming” conversation. Asking these questions or some other version of them empowers participants to step back and reboot the conversation to one that has a higher probability of moving the project and/or the relationship forward.

The questions you ask determine your reality and your results. What types of questions do you regularly ask? What types of results do you want to achieve?

For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts:

Optimal Performance Fundamentals 
Making a Difference

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