Brendan McKeague mckeague at
Sun Dec 19 23:56:06 PST 2004

G'day folks

I've been pondering lately on the 'art of provocative questioning'  - or
Working recently with couple of 'undecided' clients -  co-designing a
process for working with staff groups on such themes as 'team-building
days' or 'planning conferences' - we've discussed the notion of 'different
purpose, different space, different process'
They had already decided that they wished to go off-site but seemed
reluctant to engage in any unconventional or 'way-out/weird' activities...

One of my key questions to them now is:
Why would you invest so much to take your staff, team, whatever away from
their normal 'business as usual' space - place of work - and then just
expose them to the same old 'business-as-usual' processes...where
predetermined plans, outcomes, bells and whistles dominate the timetable?

During the ensuing conversation, I usually have the opportunity to provide
an invitation to consider a real alternative - if you are going away, then
go away in more than just a physical sense - go away in terms of place,
pace and space...
a different place - removed from the usual environment, sights, smells,
sounds, tastes, touches in order to create
a different space - in which the unknown can be made known, the unusual can
be accessed and the creativity of people can be unleashed at
a different pace - a slowing down and/or a speeding up, determined by those
who are there, in response to the energies and passion that emerge from
them as they engage with each other and with the theme...

This basic, simple question and subsequent conversation seems to have
provoked a couple of welcome 'ah-ha' moments from sponsors struggling to
accept the 'risks' associated with their 'loss of control' or fear of the

It's so much fun developing 'provocative questions' - much easier than
trying to provide answers!

Any other favourite 'provocative questions' hanging around?


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