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305 Create Strategic Opportunities by Asking Powerful Questions

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM ET
Tuesday, December 5

“We are not making our revenue numbers. I think the problem is with the sales force. They are not negotiating effectively. Do you have some type of training that will improve their negotiating skills?”

Sound familiar? This is a request for a learning solution. But how do we know that solution, by itself, is sufficient to solve the problem? If you fulfil the request as presented, you could be using time, money, and other resources to deliver a solution that yields limited return. If you push back, you could be viewed as non-supportive.

When managers call to request learning (or some other solution), learning practitioners need to ask powerful questions that will reframe the discussion to move beyond the tactical solution request and to focus on strategic results. Asking powerful questions is a key skill that can position learning leaders as strategic partners.

In this session we’ll explore a mental model that successful consultants use to help stakeholders think more strategically about their work. I’ll also describe a simple but powerful logic that can make challenging stakeholder conversations feel more natural and open. Then, we’ll practice together identifying and creating powerful questions.

Finally, we’ll put it all together with a demonstration of how powerful questions can improve a real-life client conversation. You’ll leave the session with a “starter set” of powerful questions you can put to use right away.

In this session you will learn:

  • A mental model for working more strategically
  • Powerful questions to reframe tactical solution requests into discussions of the manager’s needed business and performance results
  • Key criteria to determine if a situation qualifies as a strategic opportunity

Christopher Adams

Principal Consultant

Performance Change Strategies LLC

Christopher Adams is a consultant and designer with over 25 years’ experience helping learning professionals focus on business results. He frequently writes and speaks on the topic of performance consulting, and has facilitated sessions at regional and international conferences for organizations including ATD, Training Magazine, and the Learning Guild. Chris co-authored the 2019 TD@Work: Focus First on Results. Chris holds a doctorate in instructional design and technology from Old Dominion University and has been personally endorsed by Jim and Dana Robinson, authors of the book Performance Consulting, to carry forward their work of building strategic capability in talent teams.