The Seven Powers of Powerful Questions

Questions are the most powerful statements you make.

  1. Questions expose. Your questions tell me who you are.
  2. Questions invite thought. Answers end thought.
  3. Questions enlighten.

    “It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question,” Decouvertes.

  4. Questions overcome resistance. People naturally question statements. On the other hand, ask an honest question and people lean in.
  5. Questions enable ownership. When I tell you the answer, I own it. If you arrive at the answer, you own it.
  6. Questions reveal what matters.

    Ask about what you care about.

  7. Questions establish focus.

More on focus:

When I started riding motorcycles, I learned they drifted in the direction I looked. A dangerous thing if you like to look around.

Focus establishes direction.

What you persistently ask about gets done.

Illustration:

An organization that believes in relationship before opportunity could ask their employees for the names of the people they met that day.

Questions express values.

Big question:

During a recent conversation with Scott Cochrane, Executive Director of the Leadership Center Willow Creek Canada, I heard a question that sent chills up my spine.

Scott went to a meeting and asked this compelling, outward facing question, “What do you need to see for our country to change?” I feel purpose behind his words.

Good but not great questions:

  1. Declining companies asking, “How can we stop our decline?”
  2. Failing leaders asking, “How can we better lead?
  3. Inefficient organizations asking, “How can we increase efficiencies?”
  4. Financially strapped businesses asking, “How can we make more money?”

If you or your organization is falling short, you may be asking questions that fall short. Ask questions with purpose.

Try asking, “How can we best bring value to those we serve?” for example. You won’t get the right answer until you ask the right question.

Follow Scott Cochrane on twitter: @WScottCochrane

What are the great questions leaders ask?