Joe Rainsberger and I just got off our #StoosSparks video hangout, where we discussed the use of Powerful Questions in the workplace. It’s such a big topic, with many subtleties to explore, so we only got started and it seemed it was time to wrap up! You can find it here: http://stoossparks.com/stoos-sparks-4-powerful-questions/ (36 minutes).
We took a great question offline from Paul Culmsee in Australia, and riffed on that for a while … but it was a lonely conversation, without Paul, who wasn’t able to join us online. It left me curious – we had to make some assumptions in answering it, and I’d have liked a little more detail. And I’d like to hear his response to our one-sided conversation… hence this blog, as a place to continue the conversation!
Paul talked about a scenario where he wants an answer from a team on something specific, say KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
I’ve come to realise that asking a question directly, like “what should our vision be?” or “what should our KPIs be?” is usually less effective than asking “what are the aspects of our challenge that we need to consider?” and letting the vision or KPIs emerge from that discussion as a synthesis. Do you guys notice this? And if so, how to you determine what to ask, when your underlying *intention* is to get a different question answered?
You can hear what we made of this brief scenario in the video at timemark 10:45. But I wonder what more Paul has to say about the scenario and about our answer: did we understand his intent? And are we on the same wavelength or does he have something different to contribute? (Paul Culmsee is the co-author of The Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices, and has done his own videos about Powerful Questions!)
I’d guess that Paul is sleeping now, so while we wait for his answer, we’ll take any questions or comments you have about Powerful Questions in comments here on this post. I’m in Europe, so I’ll head to bed waaay before Joe in Canada does, but one or the other of us should be checking in here periodically, and we look forward to hearing from you! Dawna Jones (in the US), and Sander Huijsen (in the Netherlands), who organised that video may also show up here to chat with you.
By the way: there’s a resource list of “ways to learn and things to try” associated with the video, the link is listed underneath the video at http://stoossparks.com/stoos-sparks-4-powerful-questions/
(Note: I have temporarily disabled comments here to quell a flood of spam. Please use my contact form for now, thanks! -deb)