Is it better to tell a working group what they should be doing, or ask them questions? Bill Jensen suggests the latter.
Rather than tell them the best practices that other companies were following (what everyone always wants to hear), I shared with the attendees five questions, and said that how they answered these questions would guide them on their journey. Each question could be taken as deep as the attendees were willing to go… “Are we willing to be user-centered?”…”Are we willing to fail?”…
When the group returned from their private discussions, they were buzzing! They shared the concerns they had, but also what they felt they could do better.
Two lessons learned:
• Trust the Conversation: We are so programmed that open debate will take us in the “wrong” direction, that we forget to trust the process. How people come to conclusions is not through other people’s best practices, but by wrestling with their own views, with challenges, with opportunities.
• Trust Great Questions: Great questions never lead anyone in the wrong direction. However, they can reveal the elephants in the room — the personal and organizational barriers that are holding things up, but no one talks about. Talking about these undiscussables is exactly what needs to happen.