As a guide to explaining the causes of problems at work, we are sometimes given this advice: ask the question “Why?” five times. But “Why?” is a vague question and might not always deepen our thinking. It is akin to advising a confused student to ask “Huh?” or “What do you mean?” five times in order to clarify the meaning of a new concept. It is imprecise and inefficient. Here are five ways of articulating more precise questions to understand what caused something to happen. Sequence of … [Read more...]
Ensuring Questions are Clear & Positively Received Over Email
While the number of communication tools available to us continues to expand, email remains a primary form of interaction. Every day we write dozens of messages, and receive even more, generating so much information churn that we can overwhelm our ability to focus on our most important work. Precision Q+A helps us write email that is clear and to the point, easing our collaborations over email. To create clarity and conciseness in email, follow these three steps: Write an opening … [Read more...]
Three Ways to Use Questions to Attune to Others
“We all live in the world our questions create,” according to David Cooperrider, the founder of Appreciative Inquiry. That observation is a testament to the power of questions to shape so much of our life at work -- what we ask sets the stage for who we will become together. In addition, how we ask sets the stage for much of how we feel, how willing we are to explore, and how deeply we are willing to join together with others to accomplish our aims. Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful … [Read more...]
Hello, Are You REALLY Listening?
Successful collaboration requires listening. For something that seems so simple and natural on the surface, listening is far from simple or easy when we dive deeper. We recently read this profound observation about listening from the actor Alan Alda: … [Read more...]
Can You Pass the Credibility Test?
Political season always makes us think about the power of Evidence Questions. In the Precision Q+A framework, Evidence Questions aren’t just about analyzing data, they also help us assess credibility and weigh reasons for and against a position. A political position involves balancing pros and cons, weighing upsides and downsides, and marshalling support for a conclusion. This month we have the perfect opportunity to practice asking about evidence in order to build our credibility. Faced with … [Read more...]
The one question that yields better focus
We have all noticed that our attention is in constant demand. Multiple communication channels, myriad interruptions, and technological distractions can keep us from bringing our full presence to our work. At Vervago, we have recently re-named a category of question, formerly Go/NoGo Questions, as Focus Questions, reflecting the growing importance of controlling our energy and attention in our work. This growing prominence of Focus Questions for the quality of work is reflected in psychologist … [Read more...]