With inspiration from a brilliant solution-focused friend Kirsten Dierolf’s post – 10 good exploration questions that are not “Why” questions

solution-focused conversations mike cardus

The solution-focus challenge

Construct 10 good questions that invite a person to explore how to impact their work and the great work of others when they have no or little direct authority or power within their team or organization. 

For example, 
  • You are a new nurse, and you notice that some of the patient care is not as good as it could be. How can you help improve patient care or share ideas that make a difference with the nursing team? 
  • You are within Human Resources, and your notice a Senior Vice President (who says they want teamwork) continually embarrass team members when they make a mistake. How can you speak with that manager to identify different ways to enhance teamwork? 
  • You are a purchasing associate, and you notice a department overspending on supplies. How can you influence their decisions to understand what is happening and decrease their overall spending? 

Let’s see what I can come up with!

  1. What you shared sounds challenging and interesting. What have you noticed that supports your belief that you can help this other department or person? 
  2. Can you share a time when this person or department and you worked well together and had an open exchange of ideas? Share some details of how that happened. 
  3. When working with similar things, how did you share or introduce the idea that was helpful to the person and you? 
  4. Who do you know within the department that you could speak with to learn more about what is working and better understand what works to share the information you have? 
  5. They invite you to a meeting within this department or with this person. How will you know that you are sharing the information so that they are listening and accepting the suggestions? 
  6. When you have made suggestions in the past, how did you present and prepare to ensure you shared the idea in a way that was best for the other person? 
  7. What do you want to have happen? 
  8. Who are some other people who know this department or person you can talk to, to maybe share the idea, give you some feedback on what works, or help you understand? When you are talking with this person, what does success look like? 
  9. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being you feel confident sharing what you have noticed, and 1 being the opposite – where are you now? What have you done or noticed that lets you know you are at that number? What does +2 look like? 
  10. Where is the least intrusive area to start this discussion? Who is it with? What do you share? How are you prepared? What will you notice when they are accepting and listening? 

WHEW! There it is – 10 solution-focused questions that may help share information or make an improvement in an area or department where you have little to no power or influence.