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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

What is Your Question?

I recently attended a workshop on navigating and leading change, culminating with an activity around questioning strategies. How do you reframe conversations? Probe through questions and have others in meetings do more of the analysis based on your questions?

In my doctoral program at the University of LaVerne, my cohort colleagues and I explored the circle of "Why?" The activity consists of a series of six consecutive queries around "why" followed by a discussion about where that conversation led.

Gary Keller and Jay Papasan's book, The One Thing: The Surprising Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, has a section on "focusing questions." In it, the focusing questions are used to drill down into a specific activity. I've been pondering how we do that in educational leadership to guide and move our systems.

What's the ONE thing you can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

The entire book is focused on that one question. How do we organize our work in public education, in each and every one of our roles, based on the response to that one question?

What is the one thing we could focus on in our school, our district, our (fill in the blank) that if we did, everything else would be easier? I have a few ideas, but I'm not sure any of them will work. What I do know is that this question will help to drive my administrative team as we move our work forward. The question can help us arrive at our non-negotiable goals for achievement and instruction. The question can also help us identify measures of success to help us monitor effectiveness.

Think about the power of having the right answer? Imagine if there was one thing you could do that would transform your school, ensure happy/successful students, guarantee an outstanding teacher in every classroom and principal in every school. Your answer can only be one thing. It forces you to land on something specific. While you may consider many options, you can't hedge your bets with a few actions. One. Only one.

So.....back to the question. What is the one thing YOU can do?

(reprinted from LinkedIn - May 2015)

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