Before launching into any line of questioning, always asks yourself:
• What do I want to ask?
• Why do I want to ask this?
• How might people respond?
Regardless of the question type (open or closed) or the setting, here are some question
development guidelines to consider:
• Always customize the questions to fit the context.
• Ask questions that people are capable of answering.
• Use language that’s clear and unambiguous.
• Create safety before asking difficult questions.
• Stay open and avoid questions that lead people to specific conclusions.
• Ask follow-on questions that fit with the flow of the conversation.
Questions that set the context
- What’s our goal at this meeting?
- What are your expected outcomes?
Questions that invite development
- Can you say more?
- What else is connected to this?
Questions that probe
- How did this start?
- Who’s involved?
- What’s the history of this?
Questions that clarify
- Are you saying . . . ?
- Am I understanding that . . . ?
Organization Development is a planned effort to increase organization effectiveness and
The Key Principles and Practices
The essential principles of O.D. are listed below. You will note that these are completely
coherent with the core beliefs of facilitation. These key principles are:
• People are healthy, self-motivated and capable.
• People will support what they create.
• Personal values must be examined.
• Everyone must respect the values of others.
• Interpersonal relations are critically important.
• Leadership style is important.
• Organization dynamics are important.
The Fifth Rule of Facilitation
While some facilitations are simpler than others, there are no simple facilitations:
- The First Rule of Facilitation ................. Context, context, context.
- The Second Rule of Facilitation .............. Keep the purpose crystal clear.
- The Third Rule of Facilitation ................ Always create a detailed process agenda to guide your work.
- The Fourth Rule of Facilitation ............... Don’t hesitate to make needed interventions.
- The Fifth Rule of Facilitation .................. You are the instrument!
- People want to be at the meeting.
- Everyone is clear on the purpose of the meeting.
- There are no distractions, baggage, or historical precedents blocking participation.
- People understand the role and powers of a facilitator and are ready and eager to be facilitated.
- The people at the meeting are appropriately empowered to make decisions and act on agenda items.
- There are no political or interpersonal factors operating behind the scenes
- Neutral means unassertive
- I have to put up with their behavior.
- I’m experienced; I’ll just wing it!
- It’s my fault things didn’t work out!
– We will listen to others
– We will respect all points of view
– We will give the meeting our full attention
– We will hone time limits
– We will stay on topic
– We will agree that everything said here stays here