Four powerful alignment questions
Ask these questions to kickstart your initiative
Have you ever found yourself frustrated in a team or project? You’re asking yourself why you said yes in the first place. Why am I doing this again? What’s my role in this?
I definitely have.
That’s why at The Ready, every time we start a new team or (client) project, we ask each other these four simple yet powerful questions (ICBD):
Intentions - why do you want to be part of this?
Concerns - what worries you about this? what might go wrong?
Boundaries - what rules or standards will help us be the best?
Dreams - what will be true if this goes incredibly well?
We start this exercise by silently generating answers on a shared digital board. Then we take turns listening empathetically to each other’s answers, going one category at a time. We ask clarifying questions but don’t respond.
After everyone has answered all of the questions, we reflect on the questions: What did we notice? Did anything surprise you? What working agreements should we draft now?
It only takes 30-60 minutes, depending on the group size. Even if you didn’t go through these at the start of your initiative, you could do this anytime to reset. Taking time to answer these questions upfront can save you much time further down the road. It improves alignment, empathy, and trust.
There are many more use cases than just using this in teams at work. For example, when you make a big life decision, you can do this individually or with family members. Or even when you’re planning a holiday. Having everybody’s ICBD on the table drastically increases the chance of everybody getting what they need.
This exercise is the All-In Method from the book Radical Alignment by Bob Gower and Alexandra (Alex) Jamieson. They were also interviewed on the Brave New Work podcast:
After co-facilitating a client session, Bob and I had a lovely dinner with Nelia Booden.
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