Here are 5 starter questions I use with clients when exploring their work-based challenges:
- What part of your work feels like the most natural use of your skills, knowledge and capabilities?
- What part of your work makes you smile while you’re doing it?
- What part of your work feels like real work – i.e. it has to be done, but you have to force yourself to get it done?
- What part of your work do you never quite get to, even though suspect it’d be great fun?
- What part of your work could you stop doing without anyone noticing?
Of course, as openers, there’s a rich seam available beneath each of these questions – just following up on one alone can provide all the insight you’ll need into where the work-based challenge has its source; and, conversely, where you may find potential solutions.
How would you answer each question? What other questions would you ask to get to the root of things?
And, in the spirit of 2-way transparency, here are my answers
[and please excuse the short-hand]
- Seeing patterns within and between data sets, forming and testing hypotheses, using those two things to help people accomplish real change.
- Seeing the “Aha!” moment on a client’s face – when the insight transfers, and opens a door for their progress.
- Project management, making sure everyone knows what needs to be done by when, and then making sure it happens. Essential.
- Public seminars – I love to present insights to large groups, particularly if they’re the result of a study into the audience – e.g. Organization Network Analysis. Essentially, this is #2 at large scale.
- This is tough to answer since I stepped out of corporate life to become an independent contractor a little over 5 years ago. Back then, I would have said the endless meetings about meetings about meetings, for sure. Now, pretty much everything I do has a purpose, which suits me just fine.