One of the books that has most impacted the way I work is “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life”. It’s been updated since I first read it many years ago but I still keep my original copy in my office. I am an admittedly inquisitive person in the pursuit of better understanding others and myself. In the context of “Get There with You”, asking questions and staying curious is fundamental to staying informed and therefore serving others as well as I can.
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out what’s the right question to ask in a particular situation to get the information needed. If it weren’t so, we wouldn’t see the plethora of search results when we search “good interview questions” or “are black cats adorable”. Through experience, we learn that there are some go to interview questions that work with our style and organization and that of course black cats are adorable! Speaking of black cats, here’s a picture of mine made in latte art by Michael Breach. I digress.
When approached by managers for advice about one thing or another, I have recently been asking:
“What answer could I give you that would make your life easier?”
Out of all the questions I’ve asked over the years, this one has been very well received and has elicited some excellent responses from them. In fact, their responses have been almost exactly on point how I would advise given whatever situation they’ve brought to me. They generally know what actions they should take but need affirmation that they are on the right path. Asking this question in this way has led to some open and sometimes vulnerable conversations. I have also noticed that we get to a solution much faster when I ask them what they’d like to do and use that as the foundation for any advice I give.
Getting there with them requires willingness to adjust. This doesn’t necessarily mean full on changes, though it can. Being open to some adjustments along the way can be refreshing for all.
What are some of your go to questions?