The power behind a timely question is often unappreciated. Exhortative and motivational speech does have its place in the arsenal of any executive’s communicative repertoire. Nevertheless, an effective question can change the entire scope of a discussion. Good questions, in fact, can accomplish some things that direct speech cannot in at least three ways. First, most questions can help individuals to think. Secondly, questions are known to open communication barriers. Lastly, questions assist when there is a need to expose erroneous ideas while teaching others.
Ask the Right Question
Innovation is a sought-after quality in modern business. Yet, the primary tool that gives birth to innovation is the question. When executives ask questions, possibilities emerge and alter everything. Yes, questions are agents of change! They fight against states of rigidity and mediocre thinking. In fact, this is what most successful leaders do–they introduce thought-provoking questions that stir people up and encourage conversations that give birth to great ideas. Excellent questions tap into your organization’s greatest resource, the collective mind of your team. With the right questions, the organization takes advantage of what creative and critical thinking can accomplish.
Build a Culture of Inquiry
Every rich business culture is a product of inquiry. Every single one. As soon as good questions begin to wane, so does the organization. Although it may be able to survive, it will lose its way. The organization’s drive, even its panache, will become stagnant. Simply put: questions lead to answers. Hence, to obtain solutions that lead to actions that generate results, executives must not only ask the right ones but also contribute to a culture where inquiry is encouraged. Questions open lines of communication empowering people to share information that can be a game-changer for the business. Being open to inquiries allows leaders to collect new perspectives and insights, and it suggests that you are sharing responsibility with the team. A sense of importance is established that solidifies teamwork, steering the ship to the direction of success.
Great Questions Develop Great People
Effective questions also help to develop better workmates. A good worker will produce with a great amount of effort. Yet, a great worker will inquire about different processes, will challenge the validity of a direction, and will learn when presented with a great question. No one’s ideas are perfect, but telling them this can be counterproductive. Questions, when sincerely utilized, have the ability to soften some of the strongest opinions. They can be likened to bridges that allow people to connect to one another. When tackling a problem though, each question, like a bridge, must be constructed in a way that fixes a gap while remaining flexible. Therefore, great questions can help executives to develop others and “fix gaps” in another’s understanding of an issue. Thus, business leaders have two options before them: make decisions based on a single perspective or start taking advantage of leading their organizations with the power of questions.
Karen SAdowski, President
KMS Associates, Inc.
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