7 Growth Mindset Questions - What Does This Make Possible?

When facing tough times, we tend to focus on why questions. Why is this happening? Why did I miss that? Why didn't I do this?

Why questions are not growth mindset questions. Sure, they can lead to a few insights, but when you get stuck asking why, you delay your ability to explore better options.

What Does This Make Possible?

Here's a wise maxim for leaders: The quality of answers you get are determined by the quality of questions you ask.

Bad questions lead to bad answers. But when we ask better questions—questions that move us away from why and towards what or how—we get better answers. Unlike why questions, what and how questions are growth mindset questions.

My all-time favorite growth mindset question is: What Does This Make Possible?

I have no idea of its origins, but for the past several years I've been a member of a high-level mastermind group of business leaders and this is our go-to question whenever we face challenges. The reason it's so powerful is it reorients you to look for new solutions and possibilities in the midst of difficulty.

7 Additional Growth Mindset Questions for Leaders

While What Does This Make Possible is my go-to question, I've found the need to ask additional, more concrete questions as well, especially when leading a team.

Here are seven more leadership questions you can ask yourself and your teams when facing tough circumstances. Not only are these growth mindset questions, but they are also excellent for building company culture and employee engagement.

1. What have we learned in this crisis?

This is a better version of the why questions mentioned earlier. It moves you away from second-guessing and towards exploring better options.

2. What is something we are currently doing that we need to do more of?

When facing troubles, it is easy to find things to stop doing. But if you ask this question, you might find several things you're doing exceptionally well.

3. What is still in my control?

No matter what is happening, you still control a lot. Your attitude. Your thoughts. Your words. Your responses. Making a list of all the things you still control is empowering.

4. What is the most important thing I can do today?

This is one of my favorite questions not only for myself, but also for my team members. It's a clarifying question and, even in challenging circumstances, it's fairly easy to answer. The more your team asks this question, the healthier your company culture will become.

5. How will I run at this decision instead of running away from it?

As a leader, I have a love/hate relationship with this question. That's because when things are tough, we all have a tendency to be hesitant in our decision-making. But no decision is still a decision, and often it's the worst decision we can make. Notice, this question doesn't force leaders to make rash decisions. Instead, it empowers you to own your decision-making responsibility.

6. How can this prepare us for the next challenge we face?

Good leaders manage a crisis well, but great leaders go a step further. They also use crises as learning opportunities for future challenges.

7. What can we do to make this a new beginning for us?

The most successful people I know turn their greatest adversities into their greatest advances. This question helps you do that!

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