Ask More | Frank Sesno

Summary of: Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change
By: Frank Sesno


Prepare yourself to dive into the intriguing world of ‘Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change’ by Frank Sesno. This book summary will guide you through the art of asking effective questions leading to meaningful answers, essential for personal and professional success. Learn about various approaches like diagnostic questions, empathy questions, bridging questions, and legacy questions, through fascinating real-life examples from diverse fields, including a nurse in rural Virginia, an anchorman confronting world leaders, and the intriguing story of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream founders.

Mastering the Art of Asking Questions

The ability to ask effective diagnostic questions is crucial when assessing a situation, especially for professionals such as reporters, healthcare providers, and air traffic controllers. To properly ask diagnostic questions, one must pace their progressions, outline questions in a logical sequence, and apply useful strategies such as requesting damaging information first or challenging experts. Teresa Gardner, a nurse practitioner, exemplifies this skill and connects effortlessly with patients through empathy questions. Gardner’s story highlights the significance of asking creative questions to challenge and inspire experts to explore all possible solutions to a problem.

The Power of Bridging Questions

Learn how to use bridging questions to open doors and establish a genuine conversation. Barry Spodak, a master in bridging questions, trains law enforcement agents using techniques that help to shift subjects from System Two thinking to System One thinking. Using micro-affirmations and questions without question marks can affirm or validate the other person and encourage them to speak more.

Holding Leaders Accountable

Confrontational and Legacy Questions in Holding Leaders Accountable

In a world where technology offers quick answers, deeper inquiry is obscured. Confrontational questions are effective at holding leaders accountable when specific goals are in mind, knowing the facts, asking precisely, caring about the issue, and anticipating defensiveness or confrontation.

Legacy questions, by contrast, seek context and open the door to reflection and resolution. Jorge Ramos, known as the “Hispanic Walter Cronkite,” has a reputation for confronting authority figures on Univision. Even he was surprised when he was thrown out of Donald Trump’s news conference after asking about immigration policies.

Despite growing up with a strict father and attending a Catholic school, Ramos developed a knack for confronting leaders that came naturally. He is recorded as saying: “You cannot deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. You cannot deny citizenship to the children of these immigrants.”

In short, questioning leaders is vital in holding them accountable, especially when it comes to issues that directly affect people’s lives like immigration.

Purpose-Driven Success

Childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield became successful entrepreneurs by aligning their shared values and mission to create a purpose-driven business. Starting with a $5 correspondence course in making ice cream, they went on to open their first store in Vermont in 1978. They built their company, Ben & Jerry’s, around employee surveys that reflected their mutual values, which they promoted publicly by putting their names on ice cream packages. Their compensation plan also reflected their beliefs, with a rule that bosses couldn’t earn more than five times the lowest employee salary. By defining their mission, they clarified their goals, encouraged teamwork, and forged connections with others. This sense of purpose helped them create a thriving business while making a positive impact on society. The simple act of asking, listening without comment or judgment, and inviting reflection allowed them to build a purpose-driven and successful business.

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