When consulting a team of managers in the Understanding organizational complexity and change process, one of them asked me what types of questions I may ask a team or person to understand better how to support their progress in change and complexity. I smiled, and we worked out a series of questions. Many of them are solution-focused (I am biased).
Asking questions and listening for responses is a vital piece of change in complex environments. Conditions where an expert opinion is not as useful and what works and does not work cannot be determined until a step is taken and we can somewhat understand what happened.
Understanding Complexity and Change Questions
- Describe the challenges you are having?
- Share what evidence you have to show that these challenges are how you describe?
- What would you prefer to have happen in place of these challenges?
- On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 we are sure of our next step and 1 being the opposite …. each person write down where you feel you are on the scale.
- Using the same scale, where are you as a team?
- In reference to what you would prefer to have happen, where is this happening? Even just a little bit?
- How did you make those differences happen?
- How do you see someone like me partnering for progress with this team?
- Share an example of when this team worked in a similar capacity?
- How does this team work best? What do you do, personally, to make progress?
- Min and Max expectations from our work together
- What 2 things must be accomplished – how can we measure or evaluate those 2 things?
- Explain how these 2 items are what you would like to have happen, and fit into your earlier score on the scaling questions?
- Who needs to be a part of this that currently is not?
- On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 be very and 1 being the opposite, how much structure makes this team successful?
- Who is my main point of contact?
Using the coaching and understanding questions removes the ‘follow the recipe‘ process and constructs a ‘partner for progress’ process.