Asking the right questions

I have been reminded recently of the importance of asking the right questions.  While it may seem obvious, it is an often overlooked fact that answers are only as good as the questions.  If we are not asking the right questions, then no matter how good our answers they will not help us.

Therefore we need to spend more time on questions.  Instead of taking them for granted and investing our time in searching for the best answers, we need to ponder the questions more deeply.

Here are some prompts for re-thinking questions:

  • Question type
    • Who, what, why, when, how
    • For example, are we asking ‘how’, when we should be asking ‘why’, or vice versa?
  • Question scope
    • The spectrum of big picture vs detail
    • For example, are we asking questions about the overall situation when we should be considering a specific issue, or vice versa?
  • Question focus
    • Particular area to be considered
    • For example, are we looking at one aspect of the problem, while ignoring another?
  • Question  challenge
    • Are we avoiding some questions because we are afraid of the answers?

You can also head over to The heart of innovation for 15 quotes on the importance of asking right questions.

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