Getting Time on Their Side

Mar 09, 2024
Someone looking at their smart watch on their wrist indicating we never feel like we have enough time.

Isn't time the ultimate magic act? It can fly, slip by, pass, heal, or wait for no one. Conversely, time can crawl, drag, or even stand still. Yet there’s one thing about time that rings true for most of us – we can’t get enough of it! As we embark on our journey through the ticking clock of 2024, let's embrace the art of turning conversations from the mundane to the magnificent!

Such is the case with our first Monday Kickstarters challenge of 2024. Read on to discover how we practiced asking generative questions and framing to turn a stressful situation into a conversation worth having.

Positive Frame

Name it: I’m working with a team member (in healthcare) who doesn’t feel they have time to devote to a project.

Flip it: Our team member has enough time to devote to this project.

Frame it: The team member discovers their energy and passion for the outcomes as a conduit for finding time for the project.

Other Suggested Frames

  • We are producing a project that will benefit our team.
  • We enjoy working and collaborating.

Generative Questions

Once the frame was in place, the group crafted generative questions that could create a conversation worth having, one that works for everyone involved.

Questions for this Valued Team Member

  • When does work feel most meaningful for you?
  • How can we work with your schedule to create this project?
  • What can make this project exciting for you?
  • What type of work energizes you?
  • When have you been energized in your work?
  • Think of a time when you had energy and passion for a project. How were you able to create the time to work on it?
  • What made it possible for you to feel passion at work?
  • What would be an end result that would inspire you?
  • When have you experienced high enthusiasm for a project? Tell me about it.
  • What does “accomplish a lifesaving project” mean to you?
  • How can I support you to accomplish this project?
  • If you had to get someone excited for this project, what would you say about it?
  • As part of our team, what projects have been your favorite, and why?

Cool Tip!

At the beginning of this session, we delved into the empowering nature of generative questions: they widen our perspectives, which shifts our thinking, feeling, and seeing. As you practice asking generative questions, you’ll immediately discover new insights. It’s what we mean when we say that generative questions make the invisible visible, create shared understanding, generate new knowledge, and inspire possibilities.

Here are some timeless generative questions that could apply to many challenging situations. We invite you to try them in your conversations today!

Questions for Self

  • What else might be going on that I’m not seeing?
  • What assumptions am I making? What else could be true?
  • What goals do I have for our conversation? What skills can I use to have a conversation that achieves them?

Questions for Others

  • When have we accomplished something great together in the past? How did we achieve that?
  • Whose lives are we changing when we successfully manage this situation?
  • What is one step we can take today to move on?
  • Where might we be a year from now when we’ve collaborated to tackle a wicked problem?
  • How will we know when it’s working? What results will we see from the harmony and energy we’ve created?

Monday Kickstarters

This topic came from our Spring 2024 Monday Kickstarters series, working sessions to figure out how to have a conversation worth having when faced with a tough situation, challenge, or problem with leadership or performance. If you have a tough situation you’d like to reframe or want to join us to continue your CWH practice, register here.

Shared by: Kelly Stewart, a certified Conversations Worth Having Trainer, Strategic Conversation Facilitator, Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator, and co-founder of the CWH Institute, Inc. Kelly makes an everyday effort at approaching life as a marathon, not a sprint. (She admits it's a somewhat recently learned behavior.) She's come to understand that the alarm clock is not a starting bell, rather an indication that she has 24 hours to create a little magic of her own. 

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash


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