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Why we have trouble with questions~  jan 2011
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Why we have trouble with questions~ jan 2011



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  • 1. Why We Have Trouble with Questions~ ADLT 636 Capstone in Action Learning
  • 2. Why do most of us have difficulty with questions?
    • A natural desire to “protect” ourselves: what Argyris calls organizational defensive routines. Questions expose our weaknesses as “knowers.”
    • We are in too much of a hurry.
    • We lack skills in asking questions appropriately so as not to cause defensiveness.
    • Our work cultures discourage questions, especially those that challenge assumptions and policies.
  • 3. The Importance of Asking the Right Questions
    • The words we choose to use express our attitudes and behaviors.
    • As leaders, our words send messages about what we think is important, and the focus for our organizations.
    • What do we want our questions to accomplish?
      • Questions have the power to focus attention.
      • Questions can provoke creative problem solving and insight.
      • Questions can also provoke defensiveness and self-doubt.
  • 4. Questions Can Empower as well as Disempower
    • Disempowering Questions:
      • Why are you behind schedule on this project?
      • What’s the problem with this project?
      • Who isn’t doing their share of the work?
      • Didn’t you read the assignment?
  • 5. Questions Can Empower as well as Dis-empower
    • Empowering Questions:
      • How do you feel about the project so far?
      • How would you describe what you’ve been able to accomplish thus far?
      • Which of these tasks do you think will be most difficult to implement?
      • What needs to happen to achieve your desired results?
      • What kind of support do you need to be successful?
  • 6. Great Questions
    • Cause a person to focus and to stretch their thinking.
    • Create deep reflection.
    • Challenge taken-for-granted assumptions that are preventing people from acting in new ways.
    • Generate courage and strength.
  • 7. Great Questions
    • Lead to breakthrough thinking
    • Contain the keys that open the door to great solutions
    • Enable people to view the situation in a new way (“re-framing”)
    • Cause people to think more deeply
    • Cause people to explore why they act the way they do
    • Generate positive and powerful action
  • 8. Effective Questions are Open-Ended
    • What do you think about …?
    • Could you say more about ….?
    • Could you say more about…?
    • What possibilities come to your mind about how to deal with ….?
    • What might happen if you….?
    • What have you tried before?
    • What do you want to do next?
  • 9. Types of Open-Ended Questions
    • Explorative Questions
      • Have you ever thought of ….?
    • Affective Questions
      • How do you feel about …?
    • Reflective Questions
      • You said that you were having trouble with …. Can you say more about what you think might be causing that situation?
  • 10. Types of Open-Ended Questions
    • Probing Questions
      • Can you elaborate on what you mean by …?
    • Fresh Questions (challenge assumptions)
      • Why do you think it’s been done that way?
    • Questions from a Systems Perspective
      • What are the possible consequences elsewhere in the organization of doing it that way?
  • 11. Types of Open-Ended Questions
    • Analytical Questions
      • What might be the consequences of that?
    • Clarifying Questions
      • Why do you think it’s been done that way?
    • Questions from a Systems Perspective
      • What did you mean when you said …..? Can you explain it a little more to us.