Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Understanding Good Questions

To accomplish your goals as a businessperson and leader, one of the best strategies is knowing how to ask key questions.

Key questioning strategies can help you:
  • uncover the problem in front of you
  • identify the purpose of your actions
  • discover the premise you're following
  • determine the resources you need
  • determine customer interest
  • gather the data you need.
One questioning strategy used by Japanese teachers of quality is the use of Why? They suggest asking this question five times to discover the underlying causes of a problem and then finding solutions.

Another key question is aimed at discovering the purpose of any action. For example, whenever someone suggests a new project or product, you could ask, "What is the purpose of this?"

You should also subject every suggestion or idea that is presented to a question concerning its premise. A premise is the belief or attitude that forms the basis of an assumption.

Every new project, idea, or suggestion that is presented to you requires effort and resources to be carried out. To help employees figure out how to convert these thoughts into actions, you should ask them questions about resources.

Occasionally, your employees will come to you with a suggestion that you know they have not researched. Instead of dismissing the idea, use questions designed to encourage employees to come up with the data they need.

You can maintain a thriving business by knowing how to ask good questions that engage your employees in the process of improvement.

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