Asking questions for team development
Ymere is a housing cooperation servicing the Amsterdam area with affordable housing. Their Strategy & Policy team is always looking for new ways to innovate and prepare Ymere for the future. This team decided to choose a specific topic for their team’s development in 2020: ‘asking questions’.
In the midst of developing a kick-off session on this topic for the team, Covid-19 came around the corner and hindered seeing each other in real life. Ymere employees started working remotely from home. The kick-off had to fit these circumstances, so they decided to send every team member a book on asking questions as a springboard for their 2020 topic.
Reflective questions for the team
Ymere reached out to Els Dragt & Jeroen Timmer because of their book ‘Dare to Ask’. They were looking for an easy-to-read book that wouldn’t take days to finish and provide practical tips on asking questions.
Els & Jeroen were asked to send out copies of the book to the home addresses of each team member. Every book included a personal note from the authors with a reflective question for the addressee, for example:
- When do you experience a question as irritating?
- How do you handle silences within conversations?
- Who is in your team is a very good listener? Why?
Team members received the book by surprise and were asked to finish reading it before a specific date. They were then paired and asked to interview each other on the content of the book. This allowed them to also practice the tips from the book on asking questions in different ways.
Experiences of the Ymere team
After the interviews the team got together and shared their thoughts and feelings. Here are some quotes of their experiences:
Asking questions is actually much more fun than sharing exciting stories myself. It taught me to get to the core of what drives someone else in their life.
In a conversation with a colleague on the book Dare to Ask we both experienced to be more aware of the type of questions we were asking. And also to listen to understand instead of listening to answer.
While talking to my colleague I experienced mostly that asking questions creates a real connection. By being curious about someone else you learn so much more and you become a more sympathetic human being yourself.
In the end the team concluded that everyone in their team had different take-aways from the book and the interviews. What made things stick was very personal and shed light on every team members’ personality and personal development goal(s) on the topic of ‘asking questions’.
Do you dare to ask?
Want to develop your team’s awareness and skills in asking questions and creating meaningful conversations? Don’t hesitate to contact us and brainstorm about possibilities that fit your organization and team.