Crafting Strategic Questions

Leading with Questions Not Answers

Photo credit: [F]oxymoron

Strategic questions are a powerful technique to engage groups in innovative thinking, to develop strategy, to facilitate change, and build buy-in for new ideas.

Strategic questions lead us to reflect in ways that inspire movement. When we engage in conversations based on strategic questions we enter a space of “not knowing,” since really, many of the challenges we face are unprecedented and we cannot simply project what worked in the past. Strategic questions:

  • Create movement and energy for change
  • Dislodge old thought patterns and assumptions
  • Broaden our sense of options
  • Help us see the big picture and gain new perspectives on how to advance change
  • Invite further learning
  • Tend to evoke a deep response, often months later.

Strategic questions make people say, “That’s a great question. I haven’t thought about it that way before.”

Here are some examples of strategic questions:

  • When you saw a major change happen here in the past, what actions and conditions led to that change? How might we create those conditions as we approach this change?
  • What can we do together that none of us can do alone?
  • What are the strengths and skills that I enjoy using that I can contribute most effectively here?
  • Who could be allies we have not thought of?
  • How could we tie the need for change on our initiative to an issue already getting attention?

Click here to learn more by reading our blogs on the topic of strategic questioning.

The technique of Strategic Questioning was developed by the social activist, Fran Peavey. This link has more details.