Leaders often feel pressure to have all the answers, but what if the way to the answers was asking the right questions?
We sometimes overtask ourselves believing solutions can only come from our analytical minds. What if you stopped thinking, stopped trying to solve, and just ASK? Sometimes getting out of our own way actually leads us to greater possibilities.
By asking questions, you can open the doorway to greater insights, to collective intelligence on your team, and to innate wisdom in your organization you may not have otherwise seen. And the best part of this — what surfaces easily usually doesn’t require a ton of effort to implement.
Try experimenting with this with your team at work, with relationships at home, with family members and friends – anytime, anywhere there seems to be an impasse or unclear way forward. See the story below for this tool in action.
Questions to unlock growth and possibility:
- What else is possible?
- How does it get any better than this?
- What would it take for (xxxx to happen?)….(the reality/experience you want to create?)
- What is the greatest potential and possibility of this project, this innovation, this creation?
- If money, schedule, resources ( any other limitations) were not in the way, what would be possible?
- What if xxx were possible? What would it take?
- What would it take to have more customers, generate more revenue?
- What is possible to create today?
- What would it take for xx to show up now and in the future?
- What would it take to get XX new clients this week, month, year?
- What actions could we take today to create more XX – now and in the future?
- What potential and possibility can show up today to help our team and organization solve this issue?
- What is necessary for me as a leader to motivate my team and achieve xx results?
- As a leader, what would it take in order to create success for my team and company?
- As a leader, who do I need to BE to support ultimate success for myself and others?
Important note: These questions are meant to spur conversations, discussions, and active, non-judgmental exchange of ideas. In order for the true benefit to be realized, there must be a prior agreement of openness, safety, non-judgement, optimism, positivity, and support.
These are common questions we ask during Executive Team Strategy Sessions and we are accustomed to surfacing team brilliance and consensus around strategic initiatives. Feel free to reach out to us to collaborate on strategic visioning or building team sessions.
Thank you for sharing your experiences as you discover your own deeper answers to inquiry.
A story about a leader who asked a critical question:
My sister is a production executive at a major motion picture studio in Los Angeles. She was recently negotiating a contract to secure a high profile set designer for a film production team that was leaving the following morning for Turkey to start shooting a film. The timing was critical, communication had to be clear, as the entire production was dependent on this art director to join the team. As negotiations go, miscommunications happen and price is typically a deciding factor in most deals. As tensions increased, the head of the studio (my sister’s boss) and the agents’ boss went to battle on pricing. There was a lot of back and forth and for a while it looked like the deal was going to fall apart. In the wee hours of the night, just hours before the plane was set to depart, my sister was able to suggest and negotiate amenable terms, helping both executives get to compromise.
While it’s very common for deals to be negotiated at multiple levels of both organizations, this one included something NOT so usual. During the next team meeting, the head of the studio asked the team… “What did I do to contribute to the challenge of that situation?” “What could I do differently in the future?”
This act of inquiry is a mark of a true leader. He showed authenticity and vulnerability by opening himself up to his team to get honest feedback. This action set the tone for safety, belonging, trust, teamwork, honesty, and partnership within the team and the entire organization. After their team discussion, they all agreed to make decisions on the side of championing what was best for the film – and this became their new mantra and collective agreement.
The entire team got to witness the growth that is possible when leaders and/or team members open up and inquire about feedback and reflection. After witnessing their leader’s openness, the team understands there is this kind of trust in the group and are much more apt to show their own vulnerability in the name of growth.