Getting Better at Getting Better: The Questions to Ask

Guest blogger Jeffrey Cufaude, Idea Architects, shares a question framework to help you design smart discussions to explore the critical questions associations should be considering.

beautiful question JCufaude

Based on my facilitation experiences, a question that might serve as a catalyst for change as Warren Berger suggests requires clarity.

Without creating the requisite clarity at a conversation’s onset, discussions are unproductive and participants leave frustrated.

This happens quite often in strategy or planning conversations, be they among staff, board members, or volunteer entities.

We regularly lack clarity about:

  • the problem or opportunity we hope to address;
  • its relevant historical background;
  • current data and future forecasts;
  • how analogous industries have addressed it; as well as
  • the results we want to achieve, the timeframe in which we expect to do so, and the resources that doing so requires.

We’ll never leverage the ideas and insights of the thinkers we convene if so much is left ambiguous or to individuals’ perspectives and personalities. Individual brainpower ends up splintered and fragmented among a variety of issues, rather than the people working in parallel to dig deep into common considerations.

Here is a cascading or scaffolding series of questions to help avoid this.

  • What do we want to make better?
  • Why do we want to do so?
  • For whom do we want to make this better?
  • How do they define better?
  • How can past efforts, current data, and future forecasts inform our efforts to make this better as just defined?
  • What might we learn from how others (even outside our field) have addressed comparable issues and intentions?
  • In what tangible ways/metrics will better show up and on what timetable?
  • To achieve these results, what resources will be required and what might we need to stop doing, start doing, or do differently?

Used consistently, this question framework should help you get better at making things better.

What else would you add to this list?

Learn more about Jeffrey Cufaude his fabulous ideas and work at or  @jcufaude


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