By Chris Gandy
Having sat through many many board meetings in cause-based organisations I am convinced that very few board members appreciate the immense power they have to create lasting change by simply asking some seemingly innocuous questions.
“If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes”
Even the famous McDonalds chain is said to have resulted from Ray Kroc asking:
“Where can I get a good hamburger on the road?
We need to remember though that questions are two-edged swords.
Questions can inspire and bring out the best in everyone in the meeting, or they can set an entire roomful of people’s teeth on edge.
Inspiration invoking questions are usually about blue sky or unbridled potential and can lead to some wonderfully creative outcomes. So if you are in a meeting that is going nowhere or worse is becoming more negative by the minute throw questions like these into the mix and see what happens:
? What would become possible if we did this?
?Why is that important?
? What would it take for this bigger possibility to become a reality?
? What if the assumptions turn out to be false?
? Whats the very worst that can happen if we do this?
? What would that worst outcome make possible?
We dare you to try a line of questioning like this at your next meeting.
And finally to those board members that at times feel a bit overwhelmed and at times a little inferior by the verbose grandstanders in your board meetings, we leave you this quote from Neil Postman
“All our knowledge results from questions, which is another way of saying that questioning is our most important intellectual tool”
About the author: Chris Gandy MAPS is a Director of Cause and Effective (www.causeandeffective.info), a group dedicated to assisting cause-based organisations make and even greater impact via coaching and consultation.