Ask the stupid questions – A creative path to the right answers and opportunities!

Henrik Just Fruergaard / hf@promentum.ae

And we jump right to the “why”. Why are “stupid questions” valuable to me?
They are because “stupid questions” opens up the minds of those who ask the question – but also of us when we have to answer. So while a question may seem obvious, it forces us to think about it and answer. This means that we give an idea an extra “turn” in the thought process, and thus optimize the possibilities that the idea is the right one – and best case, then we achieve improvements to the idea.
So in addition to the fact that we, with greater certainty, continue to work with the right ideas and decisions, we also involve more people in the process, and thus more people who feel that they have been given an “imprint” in the process. The latter ensures that there are more who will work motivated and engaged in the subsequent process.
So “stupid questions” give you even better ideas and decisions that are better tested and improved – and in addition more ambassadors and colleagues who will work motivated to achieve goals.

 

How do we do that then?

The framework is of course important, as we must both ensure a good structure, but also ensure that we collect all the great ideas and objections – and not least remember that those who participate must also feel and see that their input is used in the process – as we otherwise may risk being left with the opposite effect.

It is important that we have an experienced facilitatorr. A facilitator who both ensures professional input, ensures that the process steers in the right direction in relation to the task / goal and in addition can manage to get the full potential out of the “workshop”, by engaging and activating the knowledge, the questions and the thoughts who are in among those involved. The person must be “neutral”, and preferably an external, so that it is “not just” someone from the management who now has to get something out of the employees.

Set aside 2-3 hours, if necessary. Eg. as a four-night meeting, or as part of an employee event. The first step of the process, “the stupid questions”, should not take longer, as creativity and energy, will decrease thereafter.

The “stupid questions” help to ensure that everyone feels part of the team, and everyone has an understanding of where we are going. The conductor/facilitator has thus taken on the “role” as the one who asks the stupid questions from the beginning, and thus legitimizes others to dare to ask.

When the leaders feel that everyone is involved, and there is a common understanding and motivation for the goal and the process, then we go to the next phase. We now need to define the way to reach the goal, set sub-goals and set plans and responsibilities to get there. We do this by throwing all the ideas up in the air, and then jointly juggling them in a priority order.

Thus, we are now ready to work on the next steps in the process, which is about working further with the low-hanging fruit in development. And here we continue to use the “stupid questions”, to constantly ensure effect and involvement…