Best questions for 2014?
The end of the year is a great time for questions. Albert Einstein once said that if he had just one hour to solve a life-or-death problem, he would spend the first 55 minutes figuring out what questions to ask.
“For if I knew the proper questions, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.”
Great questions help us learn from our past. The right questions lead us to new ideas and better solutions. Questions move our organizations – and ourselves — forward.
We share some great questions from our colleagues at #NPCONS (a Twitter circle for consultants to nonprofits) and other resources for question-aking below.
But first, what questions are you asking? What questions led to surprising and helpful answers in 2013? What new questions are you tackling in 2014? We’d love to hear from you – just send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Here are a few questions shared by our colleagues for you to ponder as you consider where you’ve been and where you are headed in 2014.
Reflection questions for the year past:
- What did we think was impossible this year, but accomplished anyway? What made it possible?
- Of all that we accomplished, what makes us most proud? Why is that important to us?
- What question was I asked in 2013 that was so powerful I couldn’t stop thinking about it? Why?
Questions to move you forward in 2014:
- What would we do if we knew we could not fail?
- Are we there yet? How will we know we have arrived?
- Instead of asking how, instead, what commitment are we willing to make?*
- What is the question that, if you had the answer, it would set you free?*
*These last two questions are from organization development guru, Peter Block.
Four great resources for effective questioning:
The Answer to How is Yes: Acting on what matters, a challenging reflection on commitment with five provocative questions by Peter Block
Making Questions Work: A guide to what and how to ask for facilitators, consultants, managers, coaches and educators, with 1700 questions to borrow from Dorothy Strachan
Strategic Questioning Manual, a gem by Fran Peavey. How could you not love a manual where the headline for chapter 1 is “Strategic Questions are Tools of Rebellion.”
Keep your Donors, by Tom Ahern and Simone Joyaux. You’ll find great questions that help you go deep with your donors starting on page 251.