Long-Lever Questions

by Ray Reuter on December 10, 2015

LeverOn a recent podcast I heard Craig Ross share thoughts on the power and difference between short-lever “toothpick” questions vs. long-lever questions. In basic physics, levers are used to gain leverage. With a longer lever, more can be done with less. The longer the lever, the greater the change in momentum.

One of the most effective levers we have is asking questions. Questions have the power to generate greater engagement.

Short-lever questions are generally weak and have the following characteristics … a backwards focus, often interrogating, and/or centered on right and wrong. For example …

What happened? Why did this occur? Who caused the problem? Who’s fault is it? Did you get it done?

Long-lever questions are strong and inspiring. They elevate thinking and drive greater performance. They extend typical questions to raise the bar (pun intended). ツ Long-lever questions have a forward focus, inspiring ownership and accountability, creating alignment, naturally leading to innovation, new solutions and fresh thinking. A few examples … notice the extension of the lever in the question (i.e., what is underlined).

  • What do we need to do … that delights the client more than ever before?
  • What is the next step … that will be most fulfilling for you?
  • How can I help … in the single most impactful way for you?
  • How can I support you … in a manner that will create joy?
  • What do you want to accomplish … that will far exceed your normal expectations?
  • What do you think … that is unique to this particular situation?
  • What can we do to create more trust … and is our daily behavior consistent with building or destroying that trust?

So how about you?

What are you going to do … that will create significant positive movement on your current greatest opportunity or challenge starting today?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: