Brainstorm: A useless and agonizing affair leaders use to torture their employee.
The scenario: Upper management suggests it is time to come up with new ideas. No one at the top is really open to new ideas, though. It’s an exercise that seems more habit than a real desire for change. Regardless, everyone goes through the motions.
The session starts with an innovative thought tentatively thrown out by a brave soul. The idea is shot down before it has a chance. Another courageous individual tosses their idea into the middle of the room. It lands with a thud as no one willing to attach their ego to it either. Everyone is fearful of the ramifications of speaking up.
As the 2nd idea also is quickly rejected, the remainder of the participants close up. The energy in the room turns sour. Participants doodle on their paper while the facilitator asks a 2nd and 3rd time for any other ideas. Everyone avoids eye contact.
The session ends with pretty much the same thing going to happen as it always has and everyone leaves bitter with the whole process.
Leaders need to find a way to generate new ideas
Whether you have been the one averting your eyes or the one trying to pull teeth from your team to get new ideas, you know the pain of trying to get an open generative dialogue going. Old fashioned brainstorming does not work.
Learn to ask the right questions
Leaders need to find a different way. That new way is about asking questions. But not just any question. You must as the right kind of question.
First start with your own reflection time
Spend a bit of time really considering what you want out of the gathering. Your individual reflection time is most effective when you wildly get curious. Questioning invites introspection. Go within first.
Curiosity is the desire to learn or find out something.
That means it starts from a place of not knowing. For a leader, it can be uncomfortable to admit we don’t know. It can feel like weakness.
Admitting you do not know exhibits strength in leadership.
Opening up to curiosity shows a willingness to grow and develop. Inquisitiveness can lead to uncovering new answers, different techniques, and more effective processes.
Acting like a 2-year old
Asking the right questions starts with being really curious, just like a two-year-old.
Second, decide on the direction you want to go
Consider what questions you need to ask the team that will take you in the direction you desire.
Questions point us in a direction so craft your questions carefully
The question you ask sends you and your team in search of answers. Ensure your question is pointing you in the way of progress or the route you want to go.
Consider these questions. Notice the you go right away.
In this situation, the direction you want to go not down the path of feeling like a failure. Preferably you want to move towards successful weight loss. The questions you ask must direct you there. The 2nd question is the one that will do that.
Next, start with the right questions
I reiterate, it’s important to start with the right questions. This example of different questions sends you in different directions around team building.
The first question leads to finger pointing and once again, shame and embarrassment.
The second has the potential to build up and strengthen what is working.
Take it one step further and ask this question
These 2nd two questions sent you in search of solutions that will take you to your ideal vision of an effective team.
Ask the powerful questions
Asking powerful questions of yourself and within your team can lead to the exploration of territory you have never been to before. This exploration can have you pry open opportunities you didn’t see before. These new opportunities have the potential to make you more efficient, successful and have more fun at work. Are you willing to go there?
Consider a particularly frustrating challenge you are currently dealing with. What 3 new questions can you ask yourself and/or your team that would invoke new insights taking you in the precise direction you want to be going?
My book is out!