Not just any question will do. Some questions hem up the other person(s) into pre-defined answers. Yes/No questions are a classic example of such thought-stopping responses. Here are some examples:
- Are you pleased with the way our enrollment procedures are working?
- Have you been using your talent to the fullest in your job assignment?
- Do you think we're on the right track with our organizational goals?
These questions call for a simple YES or NO answer, and do little to generate deep thought and rich conversation. They allow folks to pick a response then "retreat."
Far better to ask questions that "pull" the team into substantive discussion. Questions like:
- What are our highest aspirations for the future of our organization?
- How might we improve our service to customers?
- In what ways have you been using or might you better use your talents in your job assignment?
These questions invite us to think about possibilities and betterness, and they induce us to share our thinking publicly. From this sort of dialogue ideas begin to surface and solutions get refined. Thoughtful inquiry, prompted by high quality questions, is the leading edge of continuous improvement.
Getting better, everyday, on purpose...