3 Simple Questions

If you are like me, you get more book recommendations from people than you can possibly read. But I am going to give you one anyway. And it is for ANYONE, but for most of my readers, clients, and colleagues, it applies 10-fold!

The book is A More Beautiful Question (the power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas), by Warren Berger. For the coaching world, it hits on all cylinders.

I won’t go into much about the book, except to share one simple, but powerful framework for sparking elevated thought. It centers on 3 questions, asked in sequence: Why? What if? How?

Why do umbrellas open from bottom to top? What if there was an umbrella you could more easily close while you’re getting in your car during the rain? How might we design and market such a product?

That’s a real thing, by the way. I saw an ad on TV recently for such a product, and it looks amazing! Someone wondered why it had to be that way, and the power of inquiry kicked in to spur creative thought.

I probably didn’t realize I was using this formula when I designed my approach to strategic planning, but I guess I was!

Why do people hate strategic planning so much?

Why do we have to follow the same old formula?

What if there was a way to bring life in to the entire process?

What if organizations could get real traction on their strategic plans?

How might that new process look?

How could I help organizations to clarify, simplify, and align their work in a more meaningful way?

On what critical area could YOU apply this simple, 3-question tool?

Why aren’t we raising more money?

What if we could reach a whole new audience?

How might we find and attract them?

Why does our board meet quarterly?

What if we met more often?

How might that increase board engagement?

You get the idea. Try it! It’s amazing how simple, yet powerful this is, AND how little time we actually carve out for it!

Why don’t we? What if we did? How might we start?

1 thought on “3 Simple Questions”

  1. I love this! Years ago I attended a workshop on creativity. In one activity, we were paired with someone else, and each team was given a pad of Post-It Notes. We had a couple of minutes (I don’t remember how many exactly) to brainstorm ideas for making airplane seats more comfortable. We started with “What if…” and finished the thought by writing one idea on one Post-It Note. The challenge was to have the longest chain of Post-Its. Then we were instructed to select our two best ideas out of the chain. Everyone was excited to share their top ideas, but instead, we were told to throw them away, because “It’s already been done.” That was tough to hear, but probably true. Then we had to take our worst idea and turn it around to make it work. I wish I could remember what some of the actual ideas were, but I don’t. I do remember that we were all blown away by the creative ideas in the room. It was a great activity that I have used with my own teams a few times. It gets you outside of your current paradigm and helps you to see the issue from a completely different perspective!


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