Leading questions for change

Answers to leading questions under torture naturally tell us nothing about the beliefs of the accused; but they are good evidence for the beliefs of the accusers.”
C.S. Lewis

Today I’d like to share a clever strategy used by a clever OSS division head that l once worked with.

The team he led was in the early stages of its development, but with an existing culture of project delivery prior to his (and my) arrival. He allowed the first release under his watch to proceed without making too many drastic changes. That first project went okay but from observing the way he ran the project post mortem it was clear that he wanted to bring about some significant change.

I never actually asked if it was his intention to use leading questions as a powerful change tool, but I’m sure it was. Rather than laying down the law on the structural changes he wanted to make, he asked the team a series of questions that led to members of the team coming up with solutions and mitigations that proved to be very beneficial to future releases.

I’m sure the team would’ve felt that they instigated the changes, but I’m equally sure it was the leading nature of the questions that led the team to make the exact changes the OSS Head wanted to make.


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