Questions derive their power from the context in which they are asked, and the time provided for people to think and reflect. They may otherwise seem mundane and ordinary, or even contrived. Imagine putting the questions below to work in circumstances that invite people to challenge their status quo.
Because context plays such an important role in using powerful questions no attempt has been made to place them in categories. Soulful for one may be practical for another.
Attributions are made when known.
- Where is the dividing line between “me” and “them”? [John Barbuto]
- What would you buy if you were selling to yourself?
- What question is at the heart of what you do? (Note that the answer to the question is itself a question.)
- If you had no authority, what would you do?
- What is the probability that we will manage or lead differently if the questions we are trying to answer remain the same?
- What brought you to the now of your leadership?
- What leader would you be if there was nobody else in the world?
- What leader would you be if the only opinion that counted was yours?
- If your leadership was a matter of choice made by others, who would keep you?
- What difference does your leadership make. To whom?
- If the only compassion available was from a complete stranger, who would you want them to be?
- If your compassion was the only compassion available to a complete stranger, who would they want you to be?
- What compassion would you buy if you were selling to yourself
- What is the worst hurt you have inflicted on another person in the workplace, and if assured of complete forgiveness, what atonement would you offer?
- If denied forgiveness, what atonement would you risk?
- What atonement do you think that person would want you to risk?
- What is the worst hut someone has inflicted on you in the workplace, and if you assured her/him of complete forgiveness, what atonement would you hope for?
- If you denied him/her forgiveness, what atonement do you think they would risk?
- What atonement would you want them to risk?
- What is worth doing?
- What really matters?
- What would be required of you to act upon what really matters?
- Would you be willing, for one day, to give up asking “how” and only ask “why”? If so, why?
- How much of what you do do you do because it is meaningful to others?
- How much of what you do do you do because it is meaningful to you?
- What is the balance between the two?
- What is bench work for managers?
- Where do managers go to do bench work?
- What is inside of you that you have not yet unpacked?
- If you had to be what someone else wanted, what would you want tht someone else to be?