What is the Point of Power Questions?
We all need to ask the right questions at the right time, in order to work productively in a team, but how do you do that? And what even is a power question”?
A “Power Question” is the kind of question that you use to explore an idea with somebody. This is a question that’s going to give you lots of feedback, lots of answers; and help to drive your knowledge of something further forwards.
These “Power Question” are not the kind of questions that are designed to catch other people out. I don’t know if you have ever experienced this but I have worked with some individuals who use questioning in a one-upmanship way to increase their presence in a meeting for example. They want to set themselves apart to show that they have more knowledge than you.
This kind of one-upmanship style doesn’t move any conversation forward. It doesn’t enhance the understanding of the community that you are working with or the solution that you’re trying to achieve.
So, when you are considering the drivers and goals of a project, you can then try and pick out those specific power questions that will really help you with the understanding required. This is important because the more you understand something, the more likely it is that you are going to create a solution that’s going to work for everybody.
What I have found is that there are seven key power questions that you can ask that really start to open-up any kind of situation and give you the rounded view that you need. By asking these types of key “Power Question” questions; you will get the answers that you’re looking for.
Would you agree that to get a good answer you have to ask a good question?
It’s a bit like when you have a meal in a restaurant, or actually, when you order anything.
If you decide you want pizza, and you just drive around till you find a pizza restaurant and you go in an order a basic pizza, then you may well have missed out. What about instead you arrive at one of those really nice restaurants where the waiter comes up to you and rather than just take the order they talk to you about today’s chef’s specials. They tell you what’s really good and in season from the chef today, and what the sous chef does that’s better than anybody else. They may give you suggestions about what kind of wine you might want to have to compliment that specific meal? The reason why they can tailor and enhance that experience and make it stand out from the others is because they ask you right key questions, rather than just taking an order.
This is the same no matter what situation you’re in. By asking one or more of those seven types of key power questions, you will extract the information you need and that means you can then tailor a solution, experience or service, or whatever it is that you’re providing to your clients.
So, are you going to go away and ask better questions so you can then use the answers in a way that helps you create the best solution? Or are you just going to ignore asking those precise questions and continue to make assumptions and then wonder why you haven’t necessarily delivered what was needed?
One last thought: Voltaire once said, “Don’t judge a man by his answers but judge a man by the quality of his questions.” Ask the right questions!