I have already written a few posts on the ability to ask better questions.
When you are in a leadership position its very easy to get caught in the “why” spin. I am also at fault on this because I have been a big follower of the 5 Why’s process. The challenge which I always had was that I was dealing with people – whether my own sales team or the customer.
It’s not always easy to get the emotional side with a Why question.
The second part was that in a lot of cases you get multiple points which seem to be the root causes. The key is how do you prioritize among them.
When you’re dealing with machines and factories it is relatively easier to prioritize using things like the Theory of Constraints.
Today while I was going over the book The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham I came across another type of question which he gives. I think you should read this book if you are someone who makes a living by managing teams.
He says one question structure which he has found very useful is “How might I …. so that I can…..”
I tried this same structure on one of the pertinent problems we face. Till now my general system for understanding the problem, as I mentioned was the 5 Why’s.
Today however I tried this and the answers which came out were much more constructive. Now I need to see how easily they get implemented. However it did change my thinking and made me less adversarial.
I would suggest you also try this method and off course read the book and let me know your views.
Till next time then.