We’d just finished a planning meeting on a positive high, when someone asked a challenging question during the wrap-up. My immediate reaction was that the question was negative and detracted from the good work we’d just done. I was wrong.
The question would end up opening a dialog that we wouldn’t otherwise have had. And that dialog has had many ramifications – mostly good. I also realized that questions aren’t good or bad, positive or negative. They are simply opportunities to learn more, to question assumptions, to come up with an even better solution.
In our haste to keep things moving forward, we set agendas, state goals and create timelines. If we aren’t careful, those activities don’t leave time for questions and the conversation that follows.
Of course, asking and answering questions will slow us down and may even make things more chaotic, at least for a while. Yet, in the end, if we come up with a different answer or even validate our original perspective, we’ll find that our solutions are better. Making time to encourage questions, including those that may at first seem elementary, opens a group to move away from stock answers and explore alternatives.
In our quest to accomplish our goals, let’s make time for questions.