Statements Can Be Turned Into Questions!…Can’t They?

Excerpted from Chapter 10 of “Now That’s a Great Question.”


“A bad leader will tell people what to do. A good leader will ask questions and let his or her people figure out the answers. A great leader asks the questions that focus the intelligence of their team on the right problems.”                                                               — Liz Wiseman, Multipliers

Click HERE to listen to Chapter 10 “Statements Can Be Turned Into Statements!…’Can’t They?'”

Ask—Don’t Tell!

Statement: This is what you need to do this week.

Question: What are your priorities for this week?

Statement: In order to solve this problem, this is what you need to do.

Question: What might you do to address this issue?

Statement: Profits are up by 15%!

Question: What contributed to our profits being up by 15%? How might we build on this?

Statement: These are the new products/services we are going to start developing.

Question: What new products/services are our customers/clients asking for? or How can we find out what new products/services our customers/clients need?

Statement: You need to go to sales training!

Question: What do you think might be most helpful for your development?

Statement: Here is what I am going to do for you!

Question: How can I help?

Statement: Let me give you some feedback on that.

Question: How do you think that went? What went well? What would you do different next time?

Statement: Here is who I want on that Task Force: A, B, C, D & E!

Question: Who do you think might be a good fit for this Task Force?

Statement: We need to reduce costs by 15%!

Question: How can we reduce costs by 15%?

You get the picture! Almost every statement a leader makes can easily be turned into a question, can’t it?

What is your Questions to Statements Ratio?

Jim Collins, author of Built to Last,and Great by Choice, challengesall leaders to “Double your Questions to Statements Ratio!”

Mark Miller, V.P. for High Performance Leadership at Chick-fil-A, shares: “I was reminded of a meeting several years ago in which Jim Collins challenged me and all the leaders in our organization to double our question to statement ratio within 12 months, and then he said we should double it again in the following 12 months”.

In your next meeting you may want to assign someone to track how many questions you ask and how many statements you make. You might also want to review your recent written communications — emails, texts, letters etc.

Before you hit send on your next email, take a quick look at your Questions to Statement Ratio and quickly change many of your Statements to Questions. Before you walk into your next meeting, spend some time reviewing what you are planning to tell your team, and quickly change many of your anticipated Statements to Questions.

And how about at home? Pause before you tell your kids what they need to do and change that anticipated Statement to a Question.

My friend, Andrew Sobel, co-author of Power Questions says,

“Telling creates resistance.

Asking creates relationships.”

You have just listened and/or read “Chapter 2” from “Now That’s a Great Question.”  You can request your free download of the entire Audiobook and/or eBook by clicking HERE 

Bob Tiede


Bob has been on the staff of Cru for 52 years. He currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness. Bob and his wife, Sherry, live in Plano, TX and are blessed with 4 incredible children and 8 remarkable grandchildren.


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