Tag Archives: Tim Hurson

Extract More Value from Meetings with Effective Questions

Shane Snow

Shane Snow

Shane Snow, co-founder of Contently.com  advocates asking incisive questions to extract more value from meetings, mentors’ guidance, and chance encounters with thought leaders and influencers.

He notes that expert journalists, researchers, innovators, and therapists are trained to ask effective questions, and their common “best practices” include:

  • Listening more than talking
  • Asking open-ended questions to avoid suggesting responses: “Who?”, “What?”, “When?”, “Where?”, “How?”, “Why?”
    They use closed-ended questions sparingly: “Is?”, “Would?” and “Do?”
  • Posing one concise question at a time.
    They avoid multiple choice questions
  • Waiting for an answer without interjecting more questions or comments.
    They rarely interrupt themselves or others
  • Tolerating the other person’s silence for several seconds before talking
  • Directly, repeatedly probing for insightful, revealing replies
  • Nodding only when the response is intelligible, logical, and understandable
  • Interjecting questions or rephrasing the original question to redirect tangential responses
  • Cross-checking information and following up possible inconsistencies with more probing questions
Sakichi Toyoda

Sakichi Toyoda

Nearly a century earlier, Sakichi Toyoda, founder of Toyota Industries introduced an iterative problem-solving approach based on posing “Five Whys” to uncover the root cause of an issue.

The Lean StartupThis technique is now-widely applied in Lean Manufacturing, and is advocated by Eric Reis in The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses .

‘”Five Whys” were reduced to “Three Whys” to uncover customer objections in sales situations, and was modified Judith Beck in cognitive therapy to identify underlying Core Beliefs that lead to negative automatic thoughts.

Judith Beck

Judith Beck

Beck softens the “Five Whys” by repeatedly asking “If that were true, what would it mean?”
Her model that suggest connections among:

Early experience->Core beliefs (schemas) ->Underlying assumptions (if/then – conditional) ->Automatic thoughts-> Physical Experiences->Self-Limiting Behaviors

Five Whys to Uncover Core Beliefs

Lois Frankel

Lois Frankel

Therapist and writer Lois Frankel illustrated the similarity of effective questions in psychotherapy sessions with those used to spur inquiry and innovative breakthroughs.
She advises interviewers and consultants to:

  • Use questions to define your purpose:
    What do you want to gain from this conversation?

    • Help
    • Advice
    • Information
    • Commitment
    • New ideas
    • Clarification of opinions or attitudes
    • Decision
      Overcoming your strengths
    • What is the “real” problem? Engineers and business people answer this question using a “Root Cause Analysis”
      • What are the options?
      • What are the likely consequences?
      • What results will justify the invested time, effort or money?
      • Ask specific questions:
        • What could we do differently?
        • Why is this important?
        • How can we best meet our objective?
        • What do you want to happen?
          • What don’t you want to happen?
          • What is the best thing that could happen?
          • What is the worst thing that could happen?
          • How will you react if you don’t follow this course of action?

Frankel advises to

  • Maintain eye contact:
  • Focus full attention on the interviewee
  • Repeat and summarize important points to verify accurate understanding
  • Listen for:
  • Content (facts)
  • Intent (feelings)
  • The way these are expressed (process).
    Warren Berger

    Warren Berger

    Journalist Warren Berger applied refined questioning in Design Thinking processes to produce innovative solutions in Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your World .

    He advocates continued exploration of meaningful “big” questions in his blog, A More Beautiful Question.

-*What effective questioning practices have you found most helpful in achieving business results?

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©Kathryn Welds

New Questions, “Senses” for Innovative Thinking and Problem-Solving

Tim Hurson

Tim Hurson

Canadian creativity theorist Tim Hurson developed the Productive Thinking Model (“ThinkX”), a structured approach to solving problems or generating creative ideas, outlined in Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking.

It incorporates structured questioning approaches similar to those found in Design Thinking and Innovation laboratories:

  • What’s Going On?” defines the problem’s context and potential solution structure
  • What’s the Itch?” generates an extensive list of perceived problems or opportunities, then distills these into problem clusters, which reveal highest priority issues
  • What’s the Impact?” analyzes the issue and its implications
  • What’s the Information?” provides problem details
  • Who’s Involved?” identifies involved stakeholders
  • What’s the Vision?” and “What’s Success?” specify desired changes in the future state using the mnemonic “DRIVE“:
  1. Do – What must the solution do?
  2. Restrictions – What must the solution not do?
  3. Investment – What resources can be invested?
  4. Values – What values must the solution fulfill?
  5. Essential outcomes – What are other elements specify the required future state?
  • What’s the Question?” defines the problem as a question through brainstorming, clustering and prioritizing
  • What are Answers?” generates possible solutions through the same approach of brainstorming, clustering, and prioritizing
  • What’s the Solution?” develops the suggested solution into a more robust approach using the mnemonic POWER:
  1. Positives – What’s good about the idea?
  2. Objections – What’s sub-optimal about the recommendation?
  3. What else? – What else does the solution suggest?
  4. Enhancements – How can the solution’s benefits be improved?
  5. Remedies – How can the idea’s drawbacks be corrected?
  • How are Resources Aligned?” specified tasks, timelines, milestones, deliverables, issues, mitigations, stakeholders, and project team members who execute plan.
    TED Talk
Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink

Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future outlines required innovation thinking skills to solve problems using approaches like Hurson’s Productive Thinking.

A Whole New MindHe argues that contemporary world economic conditions require six conceptual, subjective, holistic “senses” to transform abundant information into meaningful and actionable implications:

  • Design is more important than function
  • Story eclipses argument
  • Symphony” (collaborative integration) surpasses focus
  • Empathy is more relevant than logic
  • Play trumps seriousness
  • Meaning is valued above accumulation.
Seymour Epstein

Seymour Epstein

Seymour Epstein of University of Massachusetts supports Pink’s argument by positing two thinking styles in Constructive Thinking: The Key to Emotional Intelligence:Constructive Thinking

  • Rational-analytical mind, measured by intelligence tests
  • Intuitive-experiential mind, associated with emotions and more intuitive ways of knowing, and measured by Epstein’s Constructive Thinking Inventory (CTI)

This “bicameral mind” model is similar to earlier notions of “Left-brain, Right-

Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck

brain”, and Dweck’s Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset

Howard Gardner

Howard Gardner

Like Howard Gardner of Harvard’s theory of multiple intelligences in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, Epstein suggests that both “minds” demonstrate unique types of intelligent knowing, and the Intuitive-experiential mind can be developed to support Emotional Intelligence competences of self-awareness and self-regulation.Frames of Mind

These authors and their findings suggest the value of cultivating less analytic and conscious modes of knowing to enhance:

  • Creative problem solving
  • Emotional Intelligence skills: Self-awareness, social insight, self-regulation, managing conflict, collaboration, influence in interpersonal relationships.

-*What skills and techniques help you innovate problem solutions?

Related posts:

Twitter:   @kathrynwelds
Google+
Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary
LinkedIn Open Group Psychology in Human Resources (Organisational Psychology)
Facebook Notes

©Kathryn Welds