Much of an executive’s workday is spent asking others for information—requesting
status updates from a team leader, for example, or questioning a counterpart in a
tense negotiation. Yet unlike professionals such as litigators, journalists, and doctors,
who are taught how to ask questions as an essential part of their training, few
executives think of questioning as a skill that can be honed—or consider how their
own answers to questions could make conversations more productive.
That’s a missed opportunity. Questioning is a uniquely powerful tool for unlocking
value in organisations: It spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, it fuels innovation
and performance improvement, it builds rapport and trust among team members.
And it can mitigate business risk by uncovering unforeseen pitfalls and hazards.