How Great Questions Can Yield Great Results

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Great leaders ask great questions. And these great questions lead to great results.

My thinking in this area was recently sharpened by reading an outstanding post in the Harvard Business Review, The Power of the Right Question. In this insightful piece, Scott Anthony suggests that a leader “should spend roughly six times longer generating a killer question than positing answers.”

When I was on staff at Trinity Baptist Church as executive pastor, I was able to see the power of the right question masterfully leveraged by our lead pastor, Tim Schroeder.

How Great Questions Can Yield Great ResultsOn one occasion our lead team was planning for the upcoming Easter weekend. The question on the table was, “Should we do our usual Saturday night service on the Easter weekend, in addition to our Good Friday and Sunday services?”

Tim allowed the conversation to develop for some time, before chiming in.

“Team, let me suggest a different question,” he tossed out. “Instead of asking whether or not we should do a Saturday service that weekend, let’s wrestle with this; ‘How can we maximize the impact of Easter weekend?’

That question brought the energy and passion in the room to a whole new level. Ultimately the question led to our church moving our Easter services to our city’s largest outdoor venue, creating a “buzz” like nothing we could have imagined.

It all started with the right question.

(I can’t even remember whether or not we did a Saturday service!)

How do you know if you’re asking the right question? From what I’ve seen, the right question will:

  • Inject passion into the dialogue,
  • Create a sense of fulfillment of your vision,
  • Instil energy in your people.

To develop that kind of questioning skill, try Scott Anthony’s suggestion, spending six times as much effort generating “killer questions” as producing correct answers.

I believe the results will be well worth it.

What’s the best leadership question you’ve used to inspire great results in your team?

the author

Scott Cochrane

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