Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

  • Humble Inquiry maximizes my curiosity and interest in the other person and minimizes bias and preconceptions about the other person. I want to access my ignorance and ask for information in the least biased and threatening way. I do not want to lead the other person or put him or her into a position of having to give a socially acceptable response. I want to inquire in the way that will best discover what is really on the other person’s mind. I want others to feel that I accept them, am interested in them, and am genuinely curious about what is on their minds regarding the particular situation we find ourselves in.

  • When the choice is between you or me, look for a way to explore us, the relationship itself.

  • Ask an open question to get information that you need (a question that is not answerable with just a yes or no).

  • When one is too busy with one’s own agenda but wants to display a caring attitude, what often works best is a small change in behavior, not a total revision of the relationship.

  • A small change allows a brief interruption to get more information before making a big decision.

  • The small change should invite joint problem solving.

  • Small changes now avoid the need for big changes later.

  • Humble Inquiry would have enabled a small change.

  • I had to reflect carefully on what I was really trying to do in a supervisory role before leaping into action.

  • I had to accept my dependency on others for the relevant information and be Here-and-now Humble, i.e., ask the faculty for help instead of telling them what to do.

  • I had to figure out what kind of question would really provide the answer, and, more importantly, how to ask that question—in this case through a memo that also let people know that I was not interested in individual information

  • Taking people off the promotion ladder without telling them is showing less respect and being more authoritarian than making oneself vulnerable by engaging in conversation.

  • That I could easily fall into the trap of telling, i.e., making the decision for Joe, and fail to ask where asking was appropriate

  • When a question is asked in a group setting, it is important to impose a rule that everyone gets to answer the question before back-and-forth discussion is allowed.

  • A question should elicit information and feelings important to the group’s mission.

  • It is indeed crucial to start the meeting with everyone speaking from the heart before any interaction is allowed.

  • The chair should control the process, not the content

  • Don’t jump in telling answers until you know what the other person really needs to know.

  • Don’t assume that the person with the question has asked the right question.

  • Asking for examples is not only one of the most powerful ways of showing curiosity, interest, and concern, but also—and even more important—it clarifies general statements.

  • A timely open question is sometimes all that is needed to start effective problem solving.

  • Accessing your ignorance, or allowing curiosity to lead you, is often the best guide to what to ask about.

  • Once again, asking for an example (what does the VP of admin do?) proved to be crucial to problem solving.

  • In contrasting the doctors, it was striking to me how quickly Humble Inquiry created a comfortable relationship and how quickly the absence of it created anxiety and worry.

  • Humble Inquiry was conveyed by the whole attitude, not just the specific questions that the doctor asked.

  • The questions that were most important in establishing the relationship were personal ones, not technical/medical ones.

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