I have often noticed that the most impressive people I work with are the ones who ask the best questions, Hal has some hints on how to do this on Reforming Project Management. His key insight is to use the following two questions, in addition to the traditional who, what, where, when, why and how:
Here are two more revealing questions.
- Why do you say that?
- What possibilities are opened (or closed) for me (us)?
The first question is an invitation for the speaker to say more about his/her statements/opinions. The answer to the question reveals how the person sees the world. The question is encouragement for the speaker to continue speaking.
He also adds some useful advise though, because great questions can be pretty scary!
Be careful…adopt a stance of curiosity when asking the question. Otherwise, the speaker may interpret your questioning as an inquisition.
In my experience I found the – What possibilities are opened (or closed) for me (us)? – question to be very clever, one of my customers once asked me to answer it for the fixed price project we were delivering too them, by making a great answer to the question mandatory they essentially forced me to go beyond full disclosure, requiring me to get the whole team to think of every pro and con that we could, and discuss and debate it with them, it was a great tool to bring customer and supplier closer together.