Five questions. These following five questions will give you, your team, department, or organization a broad range of information that can be easily distilled into mutually beneficial, actionable solutions.
You will quickly know what to leverage, what to correct, what the barriers are, how others are willing to engage or provide resources, and where to start. The questions also create a tool for establishing better relationships with others, relationships that will lead to higher levels of commitment, influence, and collaboration. The next time you need a group to share to commit to a project, a change in process, new ideas, etc., bring them together and ask these questions:
- What’s working well? This question starts the conversation on a positive note to surface the benefits of whatever you are examining. When you kick things off by making a list of what’s working, it immediately becomes clear that this conversation is not an attack on anyone or anything. Now everyone can relax and be more receptive to the process.
- What could we do better, differently, or more of? This future- and solutions-oriented question introduces the need for change in a nonthreatening way. It gets people focused on possibilities, rather than dwelling on what’s not working. As the suggestions start rolling in, think about what the ideas have in common so that you can begin grouping them into a few critical categories.
- What is preventing the improvements identified in question number two? This question uncovers any barriers to the suggested ideas and changes. People will begin to recognize obstacles that they didn’t know existed before, thereby deepening their understanding of the real issues and constraints. Make a list of the barriers. Look for patterns, and focus on the critical few.
Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll address the last two questions you’ll need to help your team come to an answer that everyone can commit to.
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