Everyday we are bombarded with so much information we are drowning in it. With all that we have at our fingertips, still we are challenged by questions that we can not answer and problems that we can not solve. Rather than searching for answers to reinforce and confirm what we know?we learn to question. Questioning is the gateway to learning and building new futures.
All Question but Not Equally
Everyone among us can question without thinking but is impossible to think without questioning. Sometimes we ask questions because we do not understand. Sometimes we use questions to confirm what we know. At other times we use questions to challenge what others believe. Too often we ask only in a cursory attempt to find the one answer that fits. This assumes that there is one right answer and that the best answers are always known.
All Questions are Not Equal
Questions of fact and questions for clarity tell us what we need to know right now in this moment. But there are questions that expand our ideas of what's possible?questions that take us beyond any of our prior experiences. They allow us to explore the future before it arrives and allow us to strategically think through our response as the future unfolds. Great questioners have the skills to unlock stalemates, resolve conflicts, create options and engage people by building strong connections.The Power of Questions
We are all challenged by the expectations of the workplace and pushed to the limit of what we know.
Daily demands and the pervasiveness of change means that even if there was only one right way to tackle a problem, a good answer today may have different implications tomorrow. Since we work within the limits of our knowledge, we either accept those limitations or we grow our knowing. Learning through questioning creates new insight.Questions have a power like no other to stretch our minds beyond what we can conceive. They challenge our beliefs and reverberate through us, creating an unsettling feeling. A good example is this question from futurist Joel Barker,
"What is a thing that is impossible to do but if it could be done would fundamentally change the situation?".
Stimulating thinking, promoting learning and engaging the mind, that is the undeniable force of questions. The skilled use of questions will help you to:.Know when you need more information..Determine what's worth knowing and what isn't..Find and evaluate the information and use it to meet your needs..Create meaning from what you know..Develop broader perspective and the ability to make links and create new relationships. The questions that you ask, tell where you are in your current thinking, how far you are from where you need to be, and help you find the answers to get you there. However; most of us were never taught how to ask questions or encouraged to ask questions where the answers were not easily found.The Six Levels of Questioning (SLQ Model) is a tool for better thinking and problem solving that moves you beyond asking questions of confirmation to crafting questions that deepen awareness, build connections and direct your energy toward the life and results that you want. Questions have direction, movement and intention.
The higher you move up the levels of questioning the closer you get to uncovering your hidden potential.As you look at the six levels of questions listed below you will see how each progressive level requires more thought in both the question formation, its answer, and the value of information that can be gained.
..Now, start at the bottom of the list and ask the Level 6 question first. Think about how much more you might learn about the candidate that one question. In contrast look at what is learned when you ask a Level 1 or Level 2 question.Asking higher level questions allows you to ask fewer questions but gain much more valuable information.We invite you to learn more about the power of questioning and how you can use questions to improve your performance and resolve team challenges.
- Level 1?REFLEXIVE - Reinforce current perception. Direct, lead conversation, or end dialogue.Don't you like your new job?.
- Level 2?FRAMING - Gather basic information.What position are you applying for?.
- Level 3?PLANNING - Incorporate gathered information to complete assigned task.How will your previous job experience help you in this position?.
- Level 4?REFLECTIVE - Apply information to new situation or in a new way.
Describe a time when you had to exercise leadership skills to accomplish a goal, what lead to your success?.
- Level 5?PREDICTIVE - Stimulate creative problem solving and thinking.If we combine the employees from the processing department with the employees from the intake department, how will that change your management strategy?.
- Level 6?GAP - Force thinking and promote learning.
If you could take three actions in your first 30 days on the job, what actions would you take that would add the most value?
To get a copy of the Six Levels of Questioning matrix and the SLQ worksheet send us an email..Valarie is CEO of Think 6 Results -- a knowledge broker passionate about learning and improving performance in organizations. She's a writer, presenter, and executive coach on a mission to get every employee and organization focused on and thinking about the SIX business driving goals that matter.
We want you to share this article with others. Feel free to copy this article when you include the copyright and contact information listed below. Contact Valarie at washington@think6results.
com or by calling 630-705-1189. Visit us at http://www.Think6Results.com.
By: Valarie Washington