QUESTION CRAFT: Get Ready for the Fork (in the conversation)
Best Practice Workgroup 1: Using Question Craft to Prepare for Conversation Forks
Workgroup 1 had helped one member prepare their follow-up “Need to Learn” (N2L) and “Hard to Ask” (H2A) questions for a huge management decision. (He reported that without the first set, he wouldn’t have won control of the decision.) But the conversation took a fork—and the Workgroup helped him prep for the follow-up.
- Susan Dineen
- Pattie Epstein
- Bryon Johnson
- Steve Johannsen
- Bill Mitchell
- Derrick Van Mell
- Emotional responses: The hard questions evoke tough responses.
- Prepare for the fork: Big decision can go surprising directions.
- Decision cycle: Crafting questions depends on knowing what stage the decision is in.
Three by Three
- Tough questions can poke someone’s pride. Be polite, be firm, be ready.
- Bring your own conviction to the conversation. Don’t give in except for a better idea.
- Emotions are indicators: a visceral response can mean you’re on the right track.
Prepare for the fork
- Good conversations can take surprising turns: Yes, No, New idea. Listen hard.
- Yes, you might need H2A questions for each fork. Or enjoy another meeting.
- Sometimes the decision is implied by the conversation. Ask, “Have we decided X?”
- Decisions have phases, e.g., Introduction, Information, Exploration, Alternatives, Decision.
- Big decisions take time: Gear your H2A questions to the decision phase.
- Be on your toes: A decision might go through several phases all of a sudden.
One more thing: It’s great to have a reputation like, “Susan always asks the tough question.”
Now you’re on your own
- “The Mom Test,” a great short book about hard questions
- The GMs Index, our 1-screen catalog of tested management questions
- Our Workgroups, a community that understands the power of questions