I have worked with many leaders and one of their greatest desires for their teams to have is the ability to think and create more possibilities. They do not want to keep hearing their team members say what they cannot do. Instead, they want their people to share what can be possible.
Does your client face any of these?
- They want their team members to start thinking about new ways and possibilities of doing things.
- They want to them to get out of operational thinking and think ahead.
- They want to create optimistic conversations.
In my training program and upcoming book, Small Steps To Big Changes™ , I share about how we can use the miracle question to create those specific outcomes listed above. I have used it many times in consulting, workshops and they produced really good results. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Build a context (for creating the possibility)
Be as specific as possible. If not, it is ok to re-visit this to fine-tune later.
For example, you want to increase the service standards of your department. You want them to achieve a higher quality of work and be able to meet your clients needs better.
2. Ask the Miracle Question
I will need you to say the following paragraph to your team members:
“Suppose you go to bed tonight and a miracle happened without your knowing. The next day, you wake up and went to work. Suddenly you find that your team was rated on newspaper with the best service standards in the industry. They are able to produce high-quality work and clients are raving about your standards.”
3. Ask the perspective questions
Ask the questions below. Be sure to dwell deep on each one before going onto the next.
1. “What has improved? What is better?”
2. “What will your team be able to do that it is not able to do now?”
3. “What will your boss notice about your team that is different?”
4. “What will your colleagues notice your team that is different?”
5. “What will your clients notice about your team that is different?”
What did you just do?
By asking each question and getting the team to talk about them, you will start getting a lot of insights to how different the team will be operating when they are at a whole new level. In addition, I love these questions because your team start considering the perspectives of different stakeholders. You will get holistic views from all of them.
These questions have helped a lot of people that I work with in soliciting behaviours, competencies that need to be developed and also the processes that need to be changed. The best part? It is solicited from the individuals of the team and none of my own answers. This creates a lot of ownership over what they say. The miracle question has even helped me produce useful conversations from antagonistic team members who are cynical. More importantly, they have produced a sense of excitement and happiness.
One particular team I worked with, used the miracle question to increase their service standards and delivery and were able to generate a lot of positive discussion over what could be possible and better. After considering the perspectives of different stakeholders, they listed out an action plan to quickly follow up on the preferred future they have co-created.
The miracle question works because it focuses on the future-oriented actions and behaviours. It creates optimism and intrinsic motivation. The key to it is helping others examine what is ‘different’ and how things will be when problems do not hold you back. Another reason why it works well is that it does not attack people on what they are not doing but focuses on what you want to be better.
Ready to create a miracle? Use the Miracle Question and let me know how well it went for you.
Previously posted on Deepimpactonline.com/blog