Asked any good questions lately?
Has anyone ever asked you a question that made you change the way you saw a situation, or even yourself? Beautiful questions have the power to transform.
Research shows that questioning peaks at age 4-5 and steadily drops off, so that by the time we are adults most of us have stopped asking fundamental questions about what is happening around us.
Organizations and their leaders tend to evolve in the same way as people: they start out asking lots of questions and ask fewer and fewer questions as they mature and the longer they are in their position.
Dale Carnegie famously wrote, “Effective leaders ask questions instead of giving orders.”
Good questions increase clarity.
“Can you explain more about this?”
Good questions improve relationships.
“Are you handling all you have going on okay?”
Good questions encourage critical thinking.
“What would be the impact if we continue on this path?”
Good questions encourage innovation.
“What other ways could we address this problem?”
Good questions challenge assumptions.
“Why have we always done it that way?”
Good questions are formed around what we don’t know.
“What one idea or strategy that we are not currently implementing do you believe would best contribute to the success of our organization?”
Good questions value the person you’re asking.
“Based on your experience, what do you think we should do in this situation?”
Good questions create ownership of solutions.
“Based on your experience, what do you suggest we do here?”
When Eric Schmidt was CEO of Google, he famously said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.”
What beautiful questions might you ask today?
Amy Varga is a beloved fundraising trainer, coach and consultant. She and her team at The Varga Group have guided over a hundred nonprofit clients to raise millions of dollars through their services in capital campaign counsel, major gifts training, leadership coaching, and board development projects.