The Business Case For Good Questions

In his TED talk, researcher and cognitive scientist Mike Vaughn reflects on how asking good questions is the defining characteristic of high performing teams. 

I consider good questions as having 5 core qualities. Good questions expand possibilities, expose assumptions, energize action, engage our strengths and evoke better questions. They position the constant of uncertainty as an asset rather than risk. Our questions are more a source of inspiration than perspiration. They make us more mindfully present rather than mindlessly reactive.

Struggling and stuck teams either work from no questions or weak questions. Working from no questions means working from what we already know. Weak questions maintain business as usual. They divide rather than align us. They cause us to assume rather than learn our way into a new future that makes a positive difference.

The root cause of success is commitment to good questions. Every good action and interaction comes from good decisions. Good decisions come from good questions. 

When thriving organizations and teams are interested in things like mission, vision and goals, they work from mission questions, vision questions and goal questions. Statements makes us more mindless and close off new opportunities and ideas. They strain connections and leave strengths unengaged. They lead to learning disabled organizations and teams. This is crucial because uncertainty is only an asset when learning is the prime condition for our success.

Only our capacity for learning allows us to replicate and grow from our successes and glean lessons for future success from our failures. Without learning, experience teaches nothing. In a world where uncertainty is a constant, only those working from good questions will succeed.