Ask More

The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change

 Ask More

Author: Frank Sesno
Pub Date: January 2017
Print Edition: $25.00
Print ISBN: 9780814436714
Page Count: 272
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814436721

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Master the Skill of Asking Diagnostic Questions

Seeking the Answer to Solving Your Problems?

“Before you can fix a problem, you need to know what it is,” states award-winning journalist Frank Sesno. “Get it right, and you’re on your way. Get it wrong and you face the consequences, and they can be costly.” In ASK MORE Sesno offers practical guidelines for asking diagnostic questions that identify any problem with precision.

Start Broad. What’s going on here? What’s the matter? Ask open-ended questions to get a full description of the problem—what it looks like, feels like, sounds like, and what seems to make it better or worse—from all angles.

Get the History. When did this problem begin? How has it changed over time? What’s been done to address it in the past? Look for comparisons, parallels, patterns. “History repeats itself,” Sesno notes. “Learn from it.”

Probe the Mystery. What are we missing? Once you know the problem’s present and past, drill deeper into what you don’t know. What else could be at work to cause the problem? Is there a hidden agenda, a dirty little secret, or just a mistake?

Verify. How do you know? Where did you get this information? Double-check the sources. Determine whether the people you’re relying on are trustworthy and objective or have an axe to grind. Consider a second opinion. Get corroboration to confirm your diagnosis of the problem before attempting to deal with it.

Ask Again. Consider how medical professionals diagnose a problem: by getting patients talking about their condition and then connecting symptoms and patterns to knowledge and experience. Adapt this method of questioning—describe, compare, quantify, connect—to accurately determine what’s wrong and why. Tip: practice by having a conversation with a family member who is not feeling well.

Listen. Listen closely to words used to describe the problem and its symptoms. Key in to details about where and when the problem occurs. Listen for patterns. Listen for connections between the problem and actions that seem to make it better or worse.

Practice. “If you can stay focused and keep asking,” Sesno assures, “you will find it easier to extend your attention span and drill down to determine the cause of a problem.”

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