The Jugular Question: Innovating Conversations

Nobel Prize winner physicist Arno Penzias was once asked what accounted for his success, to which he replied “I went for the jugular question.”

“Change starts with the individual. The first thing I do each morning is ask myself ‘Why do I strongly believe what I believe?’  Constantly examine your own assumptions. This is how you keep the creative process alive.”

For sure.

Most meetings in business today, suffer from Hypnotic Apathy – rote agendas, predictable flow, checked out people.

Jugular Questions stimulate teams to a new level of thinking, and freshen the energy in your weekly dialogue. THIS is the creative process at work. Jugular Questions can be asked in many different ways. The important thing is to ASK.

Here’s a list of Jugular Questions to enliven any meeting, planning session, or off-site retreat.

  • “Is that really true?” Sometimes it’s best used solo because this question will feel challenging, especially if directed from a leader to employees.
  • “What assumptions are alive in this belief or truth?”
  • “Why have we assumed these to be true?”
  • “What cannot be challenged or undone? (surfaces hard-core beliefs.)
  • “Why are we stuck in this situation / limitation?” (surfaces beliefs to be challenged.)
  • “What would Nirvana look, feel, sound like?” (directs attention to the future.)
  • “What assumptions can serve us better?”
  • “What stops us from doing what is in our best interest?”
  • “What would ____________ say?” (shift point of view to a person or group with an important perspective or stake.)
  • “How can I reframe this situation to my advantage?”
  • “What do we need to let go of, to move forward?”

The real point is: Ask, ask, ask. That’s how you #ChangeTheConversation

What are your favorite Jugular Questions? Please put them into the Comments below.

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