What we ask
(and what it means)
Thanks to Simon Sinek’s brilliant Ted Talk “Start with Why,” we all know the value of entering into a challenge by answering the question why?
But not everybody instinctively starts with why. Research from FourSight tells us that different preferences gravitate toward different questions.
Clarifiers start with what and who. They want to know what’s happening? What’s the background? And who is involved? These are data gathering questions that bring clarity to the problem space.
Ideators start with the question why. Why is this relevant? Why should we care? These questions ask for the big picture and sometimes challenge the entire premise, which is typical of an Ideator’s need for a conceptual understanding and their refusal to accept somebody else’s definition of the problem.
Developers tend to start with how and where. How can they turn an idea into a solution? Where does the solution have to manifest? And how can they optimize for that context? How and where questions recognize the need to develop an idea for the ecosystem in which it will be implemented.
Implementers start with when. When do we have to get this done? When do you need it? They focus on outcome first. Then they back into the other questions: What is it? Who’s involved? Why is it important? How do you think we should do it? Where does the idea live?
Knowing that people with different preferences tend to start with different questions can help you start to see how people are trying to access creative process. Listen for the question words they use.
Of course, all the questions are valuable. In the end, it’s the combination of asking “who, what, when, where, why and how” that will get you a great outcome. But now that you can connect FourSight preferences to questions, start to notice how preference-driven questions may reveal more about a person that simply the question they are asking.