In many organizations, expectations have moved from “get it done soon” to “get it done now”. This type of environment can cause people to stop asking questions and move right to decision or action. Many times these decisions or actions lead to poor results. And, if questions are asked, many times they are the wrong types of questions, which can also lead to poor decisions and costly rework.
Whether you need to get something done now or are having a strategic discussion, it’s critical to understand how to steer the conversation by questioning. That is, asking the right type of questions in the right order, moving away from the all too common “ready, fire, aim syndrome.”
We help our clients use the O.R.I.D. framework, which facilitates focused conversations, and thoughtful leadership discussions, by allowing the right questions to guide the decision-making process. Focused conversations help our clients gain a broader and deeper understanding of the issues at hand and clarify meaningful differences of opinion. It helps to reach a point of agreement and move to a strong decision or action that will drive business results. The ORID framework is useful whether the conversation is person-to-person, among a team or group, or across an entire organization.
Here are the basics:
‘O’ stands for objective questions that function as an environmental scan surfacing facts and observable data. “What is happening?”
‘R’ stands for reflective questions aimed at understanding connections, emotions, and gut-level responses. “How am I (are we) feeling or reacting?”
‘I’ stands for interpretive questions that help to make sense of the situation by examining assumptions, options, significance, and implications. “What does it mean?”
‘D’ stands for decisional questions that lead to a response, action, or decision. “Now what?”
Productive conversations follow a circle. They start with an outward view, the ‘O’ type questions, and then move inward towards the ‘R’ type questions. Next, the questions focus on the meaning of the situation and explore options, the ‘I’ questions. And, closing the circle with ‘D’ type questions to take action or make a decision.
It will take some time to learn how to ask the right questions, which may seem counterintuitive when you’re asked to “get it done now”, but it will be time well spent. By taking a little more time in the beginning phases of the decision-making process, the best decisions will be made and more time, effort and money will be saved in the long run.
Using this framework will help soften your culture and develop the kind of thoughtful leaders that most companies aspire to have. When we work with clients, we teach them how to frame open-ended questions early in the ORID framework and modify their question forms as they more through the framework to make more informed decisions.
More to come.