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Corporate Team Building Exercises, are Questions the Magic Bullet?

Posted on September 1, 2010 by Leslie Dickson

You want your team to be stronger. You want to fix problems. You want your organization to improve. So you devise a plan, call a meeting to make something happen ASAP, right?

Not so fast. If you want real change, a top-down mandate may not get you to the goal quickly — or ever. Instead of jumping in with answers, start by asking questions.

A culture of questioning helps you build a thinking organization.

You and your team look at situations in terms of analysis, root causes, and teamwork. Just as important, you learn to listen to each other and explore new directions. That’s why powerful questioning is one of the key topics in the VoicePro® Results & Relationships™ program, which focuses on the skills of listening and inquiry.

Developing a strong questioning organization will take practice. When you start out, questions can feel like challenges or interrogation. To help you get started, here are some questions of ours to guide you:

  • Does anyone have a question? Put an end to the one-way conversation. Invite people to ask questions. Encourage making questions a part of your every day interactions. Model the behavior yourself. In time, people will understand that engaging colleagues in dialog will bring new solutions to the table. If you are in a meeting or large group it might be wise to make a list yourself of some of some of tough questions and plant them with someone in the audience. That can help people overcome the reluctance to bring up difficult topics.
  • What can we learn here? This is a reminder that every question deserves a positive first response. A negative one shuts down the discussion before it begins. Give others respect and you leave the door open for further exploration.
  • What’s your hurry? When you’re asked a question, don’t rush to respond. We tend to think that responding quickly shows how much we know. Actually, it is okay to let others see you think. Take a moment to consider the question, examine your emotions to see if they’re coloring your response, and return a useful answer.
  • How’s your body language? Whether you’re asking or answering a question, be sure your body language doesn’t create an atmosphere of anger or anxiety. Keep your posture open and relaxed. And remember to breathe deeply. It will help you be calm and focused.
  • Why, why, why? When you hear an idea, complaint or problem, dig deeper by asking the person why. Why do you think this? Why do you believe this will change things? You may be surprised how much you can learn.

The bottom line is none of us knows it all.  But if we’re willing to ask the questions, we’re more likely to find the answers together.

Image by By DoBeRaGi

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