Didn’t the Cheshire Cat of Alice in Wonderland say something to the effect:
If you don’t know where you’re going, any way will do — it just won’t get you where you need to be…
The most common approach to try and figure out where we’re going is through analysis, research, trying harder to understand, seeking better programs, or tools, explaining, more analysis, etc.
The other day I bought Peter Block’s book Community: The Structure of Belonging.
One of the quotes in Block’s book: “Questions are fateful. They determine destinations”:
The community does not shift by having any new conversation. Nothing will change if the new conversation is a discussion about better language, or if we work harder on analyzing or explaining the issue at hand. Studying, trying harder to understand, seeking better programs or tools — these have no power…
Questions are more transformative than answers and are essential tools of engagement. They are the means by which we are all confronted with our freedom. In this sense, if you want to change the context, find powerful questions.
Questions create the space for something new to emerge. Answers, especially those that respond to our need for quick results, while satisfying, shut down the discussion, and the future shuts down with them. Most leaders are well schooled in providing answers and remain rather indifferent and naive as far as the use of questions goes. How many PowerPoint presentations have you seen flooded with answers, blueprints, analyses, and proposals? How many have you seen presenting questions?