How to ask better questions

Great teams know how to ask the right questions at the right time. So how can we help teams ask better questions?

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Over the last 24 months, I have had the pleasure to work with brilliant teams and leaders who are all weathering change and transformation.

They say you learn as much from your clients as your clients learn from you.

What I learned is that the best most successful teams and leaders are not the ones with the best answers but the ones with the best questions.

When you think about it, it makes complete sense. Having the answers does not necessarily mean you are asking the right questions.

But it is hard. Most of us are trained to be the ones with the best answers. Why do we need to ask more questions when we already have the answer? We have the experience, we have the expertise, we have the solution. It is an impulse reaction, but not one that serves us terribly well today.

To quote a friend of mine: “A lot of new products and services that did not make the mark have been developed because people solved the wrong question really well.”

To become the ones with the best questions, we need to re-train ourselves to break through the behavioural muscle that makes us want to jump right into the answer. There is a lot written about this but very little practical support and tools to help teams ask better questions.

So we made something. We have developed a card game that helps teams think creatively about questions.

We call it PROVOKE, because throughout the moderated play session we use provocations and challenges in a safe and playful environment to help teams get creative, ask questions and build practical creative leadership skills.

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How does it work:

Our methodology is tried and tested in education and in industry and uses provocations to work through a real problem while developing creativity, critical thinking, and meaningful questioning habits. We allow teams to explore with play. Provocations encourage new connections with creative challenges and good questions about assumptions and habits.

The game is a catalyst to help break away from more conventional ways of thinking about projects and organisation in a safe and playful environment.

What do teams get out of it:

As teams work on a ‘live’ project question, we have seen teams walk out of the session with a much richer, accelerated understanding of the question, with new thinking connections and provocations that they bring back into the organisation. We have also observed the sheer energy and joy when teams allowed themselves to explore the question in creative, often non-linear ways.

We’ve been beta testing it over the last weeks and the feedback has been amazing. So we thought it was time to share it with you.

Let me know if you are interested to play.