I want to talk to you today about questions....beautiful, amazing, glorious questions. The questions we ask of both ourselves and other people can literally change the way we think, experience, perceive, act, connect and engage. But.....are we asking the right ones?
Recently I attended the first part of a certification training I'm going through this year in appreciative inquiry called Leading with Experiential Appreciative Facilitation. This training is run by the amazing Jon Berghoff and the Flourishing Leadership Institute, based on the amazing work of Dr. David Cooperrider and has literally rocked my entire world (seriously, click the play button on this episode because you'll hear me get truly giddy!)
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Ok, as I mentioned, I've become completely obsessed with diving into appreciative inquiry, so you're going to be seeing a lot more of it infused into everything I do....especially in the Boss Mom Retreat happening later this year in NC ;)
Appreciative inquiry is truly an introduction into how to have better questions when designing group spaces, summits, retreats, meetings, etc.
What AI does is it flips the way we talk about things from being focused on addressing the failures, challenges, and things we need to fix to focusing on recognizing, maximizing and leveraging the strengths.
What I've learned is that if we only focus on the problems, challenges or obstacles and finding a fix for those, we will only ever help get people back to a neutral point, where they don't feel broken anymore. But what if we could take them beyond that point??
A quote that has been completely rocking my world lately is this:
“The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths, making the system’s weaknesses irrelevant.” - Peter Drucker
Leading for the future is all about strengths. If we focus on our strengths, on our aspirations, on where we want to go, and what we’ve just done to get ourselves to where we are so far, what would the world look like? What would our businesses and lives look like? Can you picture it?
So how can we do that? Well, we need to reframe the way we think about the questions we ask.
Oftentimes we will default to asking the questions that are easy, the ones everyone is always asking. But might it mean so much more if we actually stopped to really think about the questions we're asking, how they'll land and what kind of feedback or response they might produce?
I'd challenge you to start asking yourself the following questions anytime you are posing a question to someone:
- Am I asking questions because I really care and wanting to know or understand more?
- Am I asking this question because I think I should ask it?
- Am I asking the questions that really need to be asked?
We’ve gotta start digging deeper into the words we use. Are we speaking to people from their strengths? Are we helping people to see their future, what they want, what their dream will be?
When we do this, it opens up this beautiful positive emotional attractor component of your brain that gets people thinking bigger, broader, and in a way that gets them past that neutral point and into this amazing space where they truly believe anything is possible.
Which is totally where we want our kids to be, right? It starts with the questions we ask.
Now, let’s get tactical to figure out how to actually go about knowing the right questions to ask and how to approach asking questions in our lives and businesses.
1. Determine where you are already asking questions in your business.
Are you asking questions in surveys, calls to action, Facebook groups, intake forms, coursework, sales calls, webinars, Facebook ads, etc?
2. Assess the kinds of questions you're asking.
Are you questions framed from the positive or the negative? Are you addressing someone's challenges, obstacles, problems or weaknesses? Our questions are meant to illicit response, and if you phrase them right, you'll get the kind of feedback that's really valuable.
Here's a great personal example to get your wheels turning.
I still have an email in my nurture sequence that I need to go back and change because I ask “What is your biggest challenge?” and rarely get responses. I'm convinced that's because it's vague and it’s framed from the negative perspective.
Now all of a sudden the reader is thinking about their biggest challenge. Maybe they don’t even know what their biggest challenge is, but now I’ve just got them thinking about 10 things that aren’t going right for them.
Maybe I can go and help them now, but holy moly - I don’t want to be the one that puts them in that negative space!
Instead I’d love to ask a question like, “What moment can you remember of having a business and having a baby where you felt like you came alive? That you were really doing what you were meant to do and showing your children, even if they didn't understand it, that what you were doing was important?”
I want women thinking about what they’re doing right more than what they’re doing wrong. I want our weaknesses to be irrelevant!
I want us to be getting support from each other, and thinking so much about what we’re doing right and how to do more of that that it overshadows our weaknesses so they are irrelevant. I want to live in a world where that happens.
3. Change your questions.
You have the power to change your approach to the questions you're asking! Figure out how you can make the switch from trying to fix problems and put out fires to how you can leverage and maximize people’s strengths.
Referenced in the Show:
(Just FYI, some of these links may be affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using the links I may receive some love in return!)
It's coming ladies. Do you have your ticket yet?? If not, and you're still on the fence, let me tell you just a little bit about the amazingness that will be happening in Charlotte, North Carolina later this year....
Think two days filled to the brim with amazing community, tons of time to gain clarity and work ON your business alongside tons of other badass boss moms, yummy food and drinks, a gorgeous event space, and.....YES, there will be a karaoke dance party. (Do I have you excited now?!)
We are already 1/3 of the way to being sold out, so don't wait too long....grab your ticket today at boss-mom.com/retreat.
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