Return to site

Creating Possibilities & Growth

In Your Organization

Learning Through Inquiry

by William Hancy, Chief Reinvention Officer and OD Specialist

Once upon a time there was a CEO named Jorja who was highly productive and happily pursuing her vision for the organization. Every day, Jorja would inquire about competitors and study trends to develop new and exciting strategies to share with her Board. One day the Board abruptly rejected Jorja’s new strategy, so she decided to pursue it on her own. Because of that, a rift developed in the organization that negatively affected productivity and moral. Because of that, the Board of Directors and Jorja met for hours to try and understand what had happened. Until finally they discovered they needed to inquire more and advocate less in order to build trust and function effectively.

Jorja’s actions sound familiar?

More often than we probably care to admit, we stop communicating with one another in order to pursue our own goals or agendas. Why wouldn’t we when we know we’re right?! While shutting someone out or shutting ourselves down may feed our egos, it may also lead to dysfunction and loss of productivity and revenue.

To combat this, we need only ask each other questions.

Asking questions disrupts other’s thoughts. The question itself, reveals information about the person asking it. Additionally, a person’s response reveals information about them. So, we don’t just learn from each other, we also learn about each other.

But learning cannot take place if questions are not asked. If we never ask, we’ll never know; we’ll only be able to assume. Lack of communication lead to assumptions, which lead to distrust, which fuel dysfunctional teams and organizations. Asking questions—the right questions at the right time—can be learned by all of us. The more we ask, the more we communicate, the more we learn, and the more we trust.

Yes, the final answer could still be no. But whether it is or isn’t, the inquiring journey can not only reveal things about ourselves, it can help build mutual trust and create opportunities for new possibilities! What questions can you ask?