Reflect on these questions in your journal writing and in candid conversations with your team.

  1. What is our intention re this project?
  2. What’s important to you about (your specific situation) and why do you care?
  3. What is the deeper purpose of _________?
  4. Why is this worth our best effort?
  5. Whats possible here?
  6. What assumptions about ___________ should we be challenging?
  7. How would ____________(most creative person you know) approach this?
  8. What is being asked of us?
  9. What is the emerging story?
  10. What if…?
  11. What’s next?

Sharpen Your Ability to Ask Questions

“Great leaders plant seeds of change around them with their questions, cultivate these seeds with constant inquiry, and harvest the results by asking whether the change is working,” writes Finlayson, author of Questions That Work. “Leaders know organizations must continually make small improvements to maintain and grow their market positions. They do so by sending pulses of questions throughout the organization that can raise the alarm and warn the organization over and over to be prepared for sudden and permanent change.”

Focus on the following seven elements:

  1. AWARENESS: what are the most important things you need to know? Are you looking for feelings or facts? And how much information are you willing to share?
  2. ABILITY: make sure you’re asking a person who has the expertise and authority to answer your questions.
  3. ATMOSPHERE: give careful consideration to when and where you ask your questions.
  4. ATTITUDE: tailor the phrasing of your questions to the respondent’s personality–then really listen to the answers you receive.
  5. ANSWER: are the responses you’ve received verifiable? Did all your questions get answered?
  6. APPRECIATION: even if the answers you receive don’t meet your needs, demonstrate your gratitude anyway. Such appreciation can encourage others (especially shy people) to be more forthcoming. Moreover, be sure to explain your questions in a way that gives people a reason to help you in the future.
  7. ACTION: make sure your questions have real-world consequences.

Source: Questions That Work: How to Ask Questions That Will Help You Succeed in Any Business Situation by Andrew Finlayson 2001 AMACOM