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What we Ask (and What it Means)

By February 4, 2021No Comments
Pretty young woman with questioning expression on her face

What we Ask (and What it Means)

Simon Sinek taught us all the value of entering into a challenge by answering the “Why” question in his brilliant Ted Talk: “Start with Why.”

But not everybody instinctively starts with why. Different personalities prefer different questions.

Ideators start with “Why.” Why is this relevant? Why should I care? Why did it happen? These questions reveal the big picture and sometimes challenge the entire basis, which is pretty typical of an Ideator’s need for a conceptual understanding and their refusal to accept somebody else’s definition of the problem.

Clarifiers start with “What” and “Who.” They want to know what’s happening? What’s the background? Who is involved? These kinds of data gathering questions bring clarity to the situation.

Developers tend to start with “How” and “Where.” How can I turn an idea into a solution? Where does the solution present itself? How can I improve for that framework? “How” and “Where” questions recognize the need to develop an idea for the ecosystem in which it will be implemented.

Implementers start with “When.” When do we have to get this done? When do you need it? They focus on outcome first. Then they back into the other questions: What is it? Who’s involved? Why is it important? How do you think we should do it? Where does the idea live?

Understanding that people with different personalities and preferences tend to start with different questions can help you start to see how people are trying to access their own creative process.

Listen for the question words they use.

In the end, it’s the combination of asking “who, what, when, where, why and how” that will get you a great outcome. Begin to notice how preference-driven questions may reveal more about a person than simply the question they are asking.

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