Across most family dinner tables, parents often pose the question “How was your day?” Unfortunately, this is usually followed by the truncated response, “Fine,” resulting in awkward dead air.
Although commonplace, these types of interactions can be improved by changing the approach. For example, a year ago, I was invited to a business colleague’s house for dinner. Their family practice was for each member to talk about the best part of their day, the worst part of their day and then something they were grateful for.
I was struck by the quality and thoughtfulness of the discussion, so much so that we decided to adopt a similar discussion format in our family that we call “rose, bud, thorn.” We each talk about the best part of our day (the rose), the worst part of our day (thorn) and then note something that we are looking forward to (bud). The kids really enjoy it and are often the ones who prompt us to start the conversation and we get much better stories about what’s happening in their lives.
Posing these types of questions is aligned with the Socratic method, a powerful teaching tactic used by many Business and Law Schools. It’s founded on the belief that asking thought-provoking questions will stimulate critical thinking, draw out ideas and expose underlying presumptions.
Asking good questions will help our team grow by teaching us to think about problems differently and offer better solutions. We can all work on improving the types of questions we ask in our regular interactions with clients and each other, rather than jumping to offer advice and answers. Two questions in particular that I like to ask when doing my one-on-ones with you all is 1) what’s working and 2) what’s not working. The latter question tends to produce especially good insights.
With that in mind, I’ll leave you with a very relevant quote from Socrates himself.
Quote of The Week
“Everyone wants to tell you what to do and what’s good for you. They don’t want you to find your own answers, they want you to believe theirs.”
Have a great weekend!