Wise leaders understand that well-formed questions can become a battle horn. 

Revolutions—whether of a nation or a single human heart—begin when someone asks a question.

Agents of Transformation:

A  stumpy, toga-draped figure with a homely face is counted among the most influential individuals of all time.

Unlike the other great characters of ancient Athens, he chose to steer clear of politics and climbing the civic ladder. And unlike other popular philosophers of his era, he wrote no books, established no school, and did not even offer any formal classes.

Yet this man has stood at the heart of Western philosophy for twenty-four hundred years. And his influence grew almost entirely from conversations built upon a single tool: the question.

Day in and day out, Socrates shaped the thoughts and perspectives of the students and others who gathered around him. He drew them with his questions toward new insights and perspectives:

  • “If a speech is to be good, must not the mind of the speaker know the truth about the matters of which he speaks?”
  • “But is it not better to be ridiculous than to be clever and an enemy?”
  • “He who has learned what is just is just?”

The leading Athenians of Socrates’ day had their faults, but they cannot be accused of being unperceptive. They knew that Socrates’ unassuming dialogues and probing questions—what is today called the Socratic Method—presented more of a threat to Athens’ status quo than even the enemy armies of mighty Sparta.

Despite his sincere piety and patriotism, Socrates was put on trial for subversion. He was charged with corrupting the youth and undermining religious practices. A small majority of the jury voted to convict.

Rejecting their offer of life in exile, Socrates submitted to the jury’s final sentence: death by suicide. He spent his final hours with students and family members. As the sun drew low, the aging teacher raised a cup of hemlock to his lips. He walked around the cell, allowing the poison to move into his bloodstream. Then, as those gathered around him wept, he lay down, never to rise again.

His question-centered communication, however, continues to reverberate. Athens, and with it the entire Western world, have never been the same.


Consider other great transformations in society: The fight for American independence. The invention of human flight. The struggle for civil rights and women’s suffrage. The fall of the Iron Curtain, or the end of Apartheid in South Africa.

All these tipping points in history started with questions—inquiries, second-guesses, an “is this the way things have to be?” that set in motion fundamental change.

Revolutionaries—those initiators of transformation in human lives—are men and women who understand the power of a question.

How to Start a Revolution (Part 2)  “Jesus – The Answer Who Asked Questions” will post on Monday, December 10


Authors of Upended Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe

Jedd serves as president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans

Erik is the principle at  Different Drummer, a LA and NYC based audience mobilization agency for global entertainments brands and content.

Which of your friends would thank you for forwarding this post to them?


Strengthening Your Relationships in a Crisis

Guest Post by Andrew Sobel, Author, It Starts with Clients, Power Questions, and Clients for Life During this...

Wide awake at 3:00 a.m.

Note from Bob:  Please don’t miss Tom’s new free eBook at the bottom of today’s post!...

Survival Tips for March Madness 2020

 Guest Post by Donna Brighton While NCAA basketball has been cancelled, we are all dealing with a different...

How Do You Lead When Life Throws You a Curve-ball (like Covid-19)?

Guest Post by Neal Black As I write this I am sitting at home, away from my team, not quite in lock-down mode...

What can we do together to make this our Finest Hour?

John F. Burns, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and 40 year correspondent for The New York Times wrote in...

Leaders Solve Problems!

Do you long for carefree days without any problems?  Don’t we all?    Who might you list as the...

Mindfulness of Others

Excerpted from Chapter 27 of Daniel Montgomery’s just released “How to Be Present in an Absent...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.