The One Question Challenge
Curiosity is the universal answer to aspiration, frustration, disappointment, and opportunity.
Talk as much as you want as long as curiosity motivates your words.
13 powers of curiosity:
- Connection. Show interest in someone if you hope to connect with them.
- Respect. Sincere curiosity feels like respect.
- Softens. Curiosity softens the blow of tough conversations.
- Invitation. Curiosity is an open door.
- Lowering. An honest question lowers barriers.
- Expansion. Questions create more opportunities than statements.
- Ignition. Energy goes up when curiosity comes out.
- Exploration. Curiosity is both a telescope and a microscope.
- Acknowledgement. Show respect for what others may know.
- Openings. New perspectives follow curiosity.
- Challenge. “I haven’t thought about that,” indicates new options are possible.
- Revelation. We all hold false assumptions that propagate frustration and disappointment.
- Transformation. Forward-facing curiosity transforms a problem to opportunity.
One question challenge:
Ask at least one question before making statements.
Two question challenge:
Ask two questions before making one statement.
The two-question challenge doesn’t apply to every conversation. You may come off as evasive or indecisive, if you ask too many questions. Use second questions to:
You can’t have too much curiosity, but you can ask too many questions.
#1. Don’t hide behind questions. Reveal yourself.
#2. Don’t use questions to control or manipulate.
#3. Avoid machine gun questions. One question after another feels like the inquisition.
- Make statements before asking questions. “That’s really interesting. Tell me more.”
- Explain motivation when asking questions. “I’m working on a project that I think you might know about. Could I ask you some questions?”
- Declare intent before asking questions. People wonder what your’re after. Tell them.
- Show gratitude for responses to questions.
- Use language like:
- That’s interesting.
- I hadn’t thought of that.
- I’d like to learn more.
- That’s fascinating.
What is powerful about curiosity?
How does the “one question challenge” feel to you? The two question challenge?
I’m delighted to partner with Clarity Development Consulting to offer the proven “Coaching for Engagement” program. Drop me an email if you’d like to explore having Bob Hancox and me come to your organization to develop the coaching skills of your team.
This is very interesting and helpful to me. I especially connected with your item #3 points 2 and 3 above about how to let people know where your questions are coming from. I get lots of questions, and without that background, certain questions can make me feel servile and disrespected. When a colleague explains the background of their question, not only do we avoid that dynamic, I can answer more meaningfully, which is win-win.
Let’s see how the challenge works out today 🙂
Thanks Catie. Glad to see you accept the one question challenge. I’m just back from a meeting. I didn’t achieve the goal, but I did better. The challenge helped me hold back my “wisdom” and solutions.
Your insights are helpful. We forget that questions can feel uncomfortable without some context.
Dan really like this concept. My whole life I ask questions of the people I come in contact with. Whether it is service people at our house, taxi drivers or even the often difficult customer service people on the phone. I am interested in all aspects of business and businesses so it seems natural. But the funny thing is I often end up learning something or get better service from asking about their job!
Thanks Brad. I’m with you. I enjoy asking questions to everyone. The grocery store clerk or the taxi driver. I have to be careful not to become irritating. Sometimes people have work to do and I should just be quiet. 🙂
If we want to learn we need to ask
Dear Dan ,
First of all thanks to you for opening a positively required debate on curiosity. 1. We are discussing curiosity under flag of leadership but what kind of leadership parameters belong to curiosity prior to that I would like to learn higher pressure situation does define curiosity because EQ parameters immediately comes into picture with undefined EI . 2. Even in organisations where various kind of leadership model works at various level then poor EQ parameters crush curiosity, according to me which is really required to redefine cultural values in a constructive manner and such kind of matured curiosity could save many leaders. 3. Now question comes , is it part of matured curiosity or only part of defined value or preaching mode or praticing mode. 4. To save parameters 11, 12 and 13 needs a lot of courage, may be possible in developed part of world but still it is struggling in developing world or in emerging economies but still it’s in a initial stage, curiosity is part of wisdom or dissatisfied leadership or not the part of Knowledge because knowledge can be acquire but wisdom comes with practice. Curiosity when become part of any person or organisation can close many leadership gaps and open new gates of positively revolutionary thoughts.
This is my curiosity when you write something , Dan I have full regards for you. Curiosity is part of my learning process and celebration of my progress.
Thanks Vinay. If, in the first part of your comment, you are exploring the applicability of curiosity to various leadership styles and situations, I’m hard pressed to think of a situation where a leader should not be curious.
The connection between EI and curiosity is important to me. One may be curious, but unaware of the impact of their curiosity on others.
Thanks again for your insights
Thanks Dan I will keep imparting my learnings and insights with you.
Have a successful day ahead….
Good morning Dan;
Curiocity keeps people and teams ‘Razor Sharp’. Focusing on ways to keep organizations on the ‘Fast-Track to sucssess’ requires continuous effort and innovative ideas to stay ahead of the competition and remain vital in thier marketplace.
#11, (CHALLENGE), has always been a motivater for me. Particularlly when I am told, “Sarge, it just CAN’T be done”, or, “Sarge, theres NO-WAY we can do it better/faster/cheaper/ etc., etc. .”
Curiocity keeps us sharp, “STAY THIRSTY, (AND CURIIOUS), MY FRIEND.”
Thanks SGT. “Stay thirsty!” hahahaha … love it.
Your insight about being sharp and fast is powerful. Great additions to the the power of curiosity.
I am learning to not just respond and like the last comment I use curiosity to explore the situation before resending. I just completed a one year leadership course that include a number of weeks of classroom time. We never once discussed curiosity at all. If I explore the event or issue with this concept I will probably avoid making myself look bad by doing one of my famous knee jerk reaction flaming e-mails to the wrong person with incorrect facts. Thank you.
Thanks Walt. Your transparency and candor encourage me.
Isn’t it interesting that you could take a leadership course that didn’t mention curiosity. I think it’s in the list of top 10 most important leadership qualities.
Good morning Walt;
If you’ve learned to ‘NOT’ simply respond, “you’ve got half the battle won already Walt.”
As we get older, I believe father time and life experience give us wisdom. With wisdom comes the knowledge and hopefully the dicapline and self control to resist jumping the gun & rushing to conclusion, or as you put it, “Making a ‘Knee-Jerk’ reaction!”
I LIKE IT WALT…