Davidson’s Great Questions List

The role of consultant often resembles that of teacher. The hazard associated with this role is getting in the way of the client’s learning. To assure that clients are at the center of the learning, the consultant must craft great questions, with a sense of good timing.

Great questions, not answers, are often what is needed to engage clients.

The list of Great Questions has many sources. You are challenged to ponder the list, share it with others and add your own favorites. The intent is to make this list community property. Send us your Great Question!

As the list gets richer, we will send you the latest edition.

Go ask a great question…

1. What is the barn you all want to build together?

2. How have you made your work too small?

3. What is your nightmare? Describe it.

4. When you think about the future, what makes you excited? What makes

you nervous?

5. How have you celebrated your birth? How do you intend to celebrate it

from this day forward?

6. What do they have that you want?

7. What is your contribution to the problem?

8. What do you need to make you whole?

9. As you think about moving forward, what will represent discomfort zones

for you?

10. How would your ancestors honor your life?

11. When a fair and just person looks at you, what do you want them to


12. If your organization attended an industry-wide convention, what would

give you and your coworkers bragging rights?

13. Who else should be at the table?

14. Who needs to have this conversation?

15. What is the real problem?

16. Who is the client?

17. What are the deliverables?

18. What are the push-ables?

19. How can you create a pull for your products and services?

20. What were the key learnings for you?

21. Why are we stuck?

22. Who else comes to mind when you think of your boss?

23. How will the customer be compromised?

24. What is it about your product that gives you an advantage in the market


25. What is the big picture?

26. What choices do you have?

27. What is not being said?

28. May I quote you?

29. What is the source of your security?

30. Who are your mentors?

31. What is a good metaphor for this situation? How about a song? A


32. Who is the customer?

33. What hat are you wearing?

34. What are the givens?

35. What is the playing field?

36. What is outside the box?

37. Where is the common ground?

38. Are there any positives?

39. What happens if we maintain the status quo?

40. What’s the “so what”?

41. How many hats do you wear?

42. What enables you to stick out your chest and hold you head high?

43. Is there a “turn-a-round” possibility here?

44. How will this impact the report card?

45. Are you willing to work yourself out of this job?

46. Who is responsible for your employability?

47. Can this be a laboratory for learning?

48. Can you support this?

49. What got you here?

50. Would the customer pay if they knew you were doing that?

51. Is that being authentic?

52. Can you make a case against your idea?

53. Who must disagree?

54. Where is Siberia within this organization?

55. What did you commit to? What do you do? What were the expected

consequences of your actions? What were the unexpected

consequences of your actions?

56. What is your truth in this situation?

57. What is the “across-the-counter” transaction?

58. Is the answer in this room?

59. Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

60. Is there gold within this mine?

61. Do you have a dog in this fight?

62. Do you want to do this?

63. Do you have the control that you desire?

64. Who will champion this effort?

65. Are you ready to quit?

66. Who’s voice am I hearing as you speak?

67. Give voice to your boss’s point of view?

68. Have we come to the right meeting?

69. What are the minimum critical specifications?

70. Are you keeping score, or are you providing feedback?

71. Who can you trust to hold the mirror before you? Can you find one

superior, one peer, and one subordinate to hold it before you?

72. Can you commit to a “no surprise agreement” with the Union


73. Can you commit to a “no surprise agreement” with local management?

74. Can the learning event be local?

75. What is the real learning that has taken place?

76. What is the truth that has been uncovered for you?

77. What has been the learning for you? Your team? Your organization?

78. Tell me the one question that needs to be asked?

79. At what point did you choose to go forward, no matter what?

80. Are you taking a stand? Are you willing to die for this?

81. Will you be able to live with the outcome?

82. How do you want to be remembered in this organization?

83. Who can you bet on?

84. What is your birth order? How has that impacted you?

85. Does this tax your heart in any manner? If so, how? If not, why not?

86. How will this help create the world in which you want to live?

87. How will you know when you get there?

88. Can you find any humor in this situation?

89. What’s the “school solution”? What does the book say?

90. Given the span of control that you now have, what can you do?

91. How can this learning be leveraged?

92. Who or what do you believe is creating your failures and successes?

93. How does your self-esteem get boosted at work?

94. How can you use the resistance as a resource?

95. What was on the minds of the people that created this situation?

96. What courage is required of you?

97. What will enable us to redistribute the wealth?

98. What is your theory about why this happened?

99. What is your theory about why this should happen?

100. How do people exercise choice?

101. What struck you about this story?

102. What is the transformational question facing you in your life?

103. What values do you want to live out?

104. What does this demand of me?

105. How are you vulnerable?

106. Are you able to make choices?

107. Is freedom an issue?

108. What is the value of making an enemy list?

109. Are the resistors winners, losers or victims?

110. If you were going to war, who on your team would take with you?

111. If you were going to the table to build a lasting relationship with a

customer, who would you take?

112. If the survival of your organization was at stake, who would you ask to

join you in its defense?

113. In which room is the critical mass of people? Contentment, denial,

confusion or the room of renewal?

114. Can you make a drawing to represent your preferred future?

115. How will the world be different?

116. Is there time spent for reflection within this organization?

117. What is the difference in you behavior when you are having a good day

or a bad day?

118. What called you to this profession?

119. What is your birthright exuberance?

120. What is the wound you were born with?

121. What is the bargain you have made?

122. What is your passion?

123. What is the promise you are postponing?

124. What courage is required of you now?

125. Do you wish to change the entire organization?

126. How many microcosms of the ideal organization would be enough?

127. What were you trying to achieve when you took on this job?

128. What is worth sustaining here?

129. Are you rewarding the behavior you desire?

130. Can you accept the fact that you have a union?

131. Who is considered the expert?

132. What is your hunch?

133. What are the paradoxes you are dealing with now, and how are you

dealing with them?

134. What ethical problems are you confronted with?

135. What do you need from me that you are not getting?

136. Are you stuck? Can you afford to be?

137. Can you see it, say it and be it?

138. What is the whole that needs to be understood?

139. What is the system that is under consideration?

140. What connections need to be made between people? Between


141. What voices need to be heard? What stories need to be told?

142. How will information be made public and accessible to all?

143. What reflections need to occur? By whom and in what format?

144. How will the tension between the future state and the present state be


145. How valuable do you plan this experience to be? Who will be the author

of your experience?

146. How engaged as a participant do you plan to be?

147. To what extent do you feel invested in or care about the whole


148. What are the conversations you all have never had?

149. Who is on your lifetime Board of Directors?

150. Who knows you care?

151. At want moment did you choose to lead?

One thought on “Davidson’s Great Questions List

  1. This list knows a lot about where and how it has been used, throughout the world. If only it could speak…

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