Contact Mazarine: (503) 673-FUND (3863)

Which of these solution focused questions can you ask today?

Lately, thanks to my friend Christina Attard, I’ve been reading a book called Fry the Monkeys by Alan Kay. In it, I am learning about how to talk about solutions instead of just problems. I think it’s a useful lesson for us as nonprofit leaders and managers, when people come up to us in a huff or a snit or itching for a fight, to learn how to redirect to a solution quickly.

When someone is down on themselves, you can ask:

  •  What most pleases you about your work of late?
  • You are obviously doing something right. What’s that?
  • List five examples where you have been resourceful in this area in the past.
  • When the problem was not present, what did you and others (your clients, for example) notice you doing?
  • Always add: How did you manage to do that?

If people are constantly interrupting you, how can you manage this?

Here are some questions you can ask to manage interruptions:

  • How urgent is it?
  • What’s the problem?
  • Where are you with that? What have you done up to now?
  • Where would you like to be?
  • What’s working well?
  • Tell what you are impressed with/ give recognition
  • What do you need to do now?
  • What will be the first small steps you will take?
  • What else?

Tired of coming to the end of the day and feeling like you didn’t accomplish anything?

Here’s how to ensure you manage your day as it progresses.

  1. Where will I concentrate on today?
  2. What MUST I do today?
  3. How can I make this easier for myself?
  4. What needs to come first?
  5. What next?
  6. What events might prevent me from doing this?
  7. How can I best anticipate these?
  8. What else?

Is your time taken up with long, boring meetings?

Here are questions you should ask before calling a meeting:

  1. What is the purpose of the meeting?
  2. What result would you like to see?
  3. What has worked previously (to do this)?
  4. What can you do now?
  5. What else?
  6. What needs to come first?

There’s so much more you can learn from this ebook. I highly highly recommend it. It’s only $12. So why not?

Did you learn something from this post?

What are you going to put into practice, today?

Please leave a comment.

2 responses on “Which of these solution focused questions can you ask today?

  1. Mazarine Mazarine says:

    You are welcome Alan! Thanks for telling me who else you learned from to ask these questions!

    The questions are almost more important than the answers, I think! Really appreciate your book! It’s SO GOOD!

    Mazarine

  2. Alan Kay says:

    Mazarine, I am humbled by your praise of the book. I have been thanked by many people for this work and it is most gratifying because they always cite their use of the content, not just the thinking.

    In your case I have to acknowledge that the pieces you cite were authored by some of my good colleagues, notably Michael Klingenstierna Hjerth from Sweden. One of the joys of Solution Focus is the openness of the community that use it in organizational work. Also to be acknowledged are two founders of the approach, Insoo Kim Berg and Steve DeShazer.

    One of the reasons SF works so well is that it was, and still is deeply researched in the field. Another is that it can be applied in many areas, not just is origin, family therapy.

    Again, thank you.