Leading with Questions | Michael J. Marquardt

Summary of: Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions By Knowing What To Ask
By: Michael J. Marquardt


Embark on a journey to unlock the power of asking questions with ‘Leading with Questions: How Leaders Find the Right Solutions By Knowing What To Ask’ by Michael J. Marquardt. Discover how questioning can help ensure the success and well-being of your organization, team, and employees. This book highlights the importance of fostering a questioning culture for effective problem-solving, team-building, and conflict resolution. By incorporating practical examples from successful companies and CEOs, Marquardt demonstrates how to create this culture and provides a detailed, five-step process to develop your questioning skills. Equip yourself with the right set of tools to transform from a hierarchal leader to an inclusive one, promoting open communication and leveraging collective wisdom.

Titanic’s Tragic Failure

Learn how the lack of questioning led to the Titanic disaster.

The Titanic was promoted as the world’s most luxurious and unsinkable ship, but history shows that some of its planners and designers had concerns about its safety. However, they didn’t voice their opinions for fear of looking foolish or disrupting the high-profile construction process. The lack of questioning and open communication among professionals led to the Titanic’s disastrous maiden voyage and tragic sinking in the North Atlantic.

Even though the Titanic received numerous warnings about icebergs in the area, the officers and crew didn’t ask for more information or take necessary precautions. The book highlights that the sinking of the Titanic was a result of a distorted picture of reality caused by the failure to ask questions and openly discuss concerns. It is a powerful example of the importance of communication, collaboration, and questioning in decision-making.

The book offers valuable lessons for individuals and organizations on the importance of questioning and dissenting opinions, especially in high-stakes situations. By learning from the Titanic’s tragedy, we can avoid similar disasters in the future.

The Power of Asking Questions

Asking questions is not only crucial during times of turmoil but also for day-to-day feedback, problem-solving, team-building, conflict resolution, and strategic planning. According to a Center for Creative Leadership survey, successful leaders attributed their achievements to their questioning skills. Leaders like August Busch III, former CEO of Anheuser-Busch, and Chad Holliday, CEO of DuPont, emphasize the importance of asking pertinent questions to find solutions and agreements. Charles Heimbold, former CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, transformed his organization into a learning culture by encouraging senior leaders to question everything to seek expertise and bring meaningful information to the surface. By instituting a “questioning and learning culture,” Busch argues that his company’s prosperity comes from asking, learning and questioning. Therefore, asking the right queries can result in effective teams, the resolution of minor details and complex planning challenges that exist in most organizations.

The Power of Questioning

Encouraging employees to ask questions leads to a more empowered and united workforce. The impact of questioning can change the culture from one of disenfranchisement to ownership. To institute a questioning culture, senior executives serve as role models, encourage questioning and reward it, question all policies and include Q&A sessions in meetings. Furthermore, train people to be avid questioners. By promoting a culture where questioning is valued, an organization can reap the benefits of a workforce that is open, inclusive, and highly effective.

Mastering the Art of Questioning

Learn how to ask effective questions with this five-step process. Start with setting a relaxed tone, then explain the context and framework of your inquiries. Design empowering questions that energize your team and elicit valuable information. Listen attentively to the answers and express gratitude, then follow up to show how you utilized the insights gained. With these techniques, you can become a master of questioning and improve your team’s performance.

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