Monday, October 16, 2006

No Such Thing as a Pointless Question: The Impact of Simply Asking

I am currently reading "The Thin Book of Appreciative Inquiry", by Sue Annis Hammond which is one of the first books written on AI in 1996.

One of the 8 Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry focuses on the questioner herself and the impact of questions:

The act of asking questions of an organization or group influences the group in some way.

What a responsibility our questions are! When we ask them in a meeting, when we ask them of our colleagues, when we ask them of ourselves. With our questions we get people to focus on something - what is that thing? Is it a problem? Is it how bad the situation is? Is it how little people know about a topic?

Or is it how much wisdom the group already holds to tackle a new challenge? How much experience it has in guiding a situation towards a successful outcome?

What is our purpose of the question we are asking and what impact will it have on the way that person and the room think and feel? If people go in the direction you question them, where do you want them to go?