I recently had the good fortune to attend an organizational retreat for a client where I was wrapping up my Interim CEO work. We chose a facilitator that would help them build on what I had done in terms of new policies, procedures, best practices and shifts in culture and structure. We also needed someone who would help them capitalize on the talents and vision of their new executive director. We got all that, and more.
We were encouraged to ask powerful questions. According to Vicki Raymont, our facilitator, powerful questions are led by ‘what’ or ‘how,’ not ‘why’ or ‘when.’ When you ask a ‘what’ or ‘how’ question, you invite the respondent to actively engage in thinking about the problem in a way that leads to a solution. For example, instead of asking, “Why is this report late?” you could ask, “What processes do we need in place to make sure that reports are submitted on time?”
I encourage you to ask powerful questions that lead to innovation, change and engagement. Have those crucial conversations in order to better understand the views, perspectives and motivations of those around you. With these new skills you’ll be a better and more effective leader and you’ll enjoy greater success in the important community-building work you’re doing. And who doesn’t want that?
*Note: Thanks to Vicki Raymont of Strategic Solutions Group for providing this guidance. Her website is chock full of information and insight. Check it out!