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Translating culture change into practice


brain gears

Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military. How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets? By listening and learning — and addressing the possibility of failure.



• What question, if answered, could make the most difference to the future of (your situation)?
• What’s important to you about (your situation) and why do you care?
• What draws you/us to this inquiry?
• What’s our intention here? What’s the deeper purpose (the big “why”) that is really worthy of our best effort?
• What opportunities can you see in (your situation)?
• What do we know so far/still need to learn about (your situation)?
• What are the dilemmas/opportunities in (your situation)?
• What assumptions do we need to test or challenge here in thinking about (your situation)?
• What would someone who had a very different set of beliefs than we do say about (your situation)?



• What’s taking shape? What are you hearing underneath the variety of opinions being expressed?
What’s in the center of the table?
• What’s emerging here for you? What new connections are you making?
• What had real meaning for you from what you’ve heard? What surprised you? What challenged you?
• What’s missing from this picture so far? What is it we’re not seeing? What do we need more clarity about?
• What’s been your/our major learning, insight, or discovery so far?
• What’s the next level of thinking we need to do?
• If there was one thing that hasn’t yet been said in order to reach a deeper level of
understanding/clarity, what would that be?

How to speak so that people want to listen




• What would it take to create change on this issue?
• What could happen that would enable you/us to feel fully engaged and energized about (your situation)?
• What’s possible here and who cares? (rather than “What’s wrong here and who’s responsible?”)
• What needs our immediate attention going forward?
• If our success was completely guaranteed, what bold steps might we choose?
• How can we support each other in taking the next steps? What unique contribution can we each make?
• What challenges might come our way and how might we meet them?
• What conversation, if begun today, could ripple out in a way that created new possibilities for the future of (your situation)?
• What seed might we plant together today that could make the most difference to the future of (your situation)?