Why we have trouble with questions~ jan 2011


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Why we have trouble with questions~ jan 2011

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