Change Your Questions, Change Your Life.

Author:Massue, Mireille
Position:Book review

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life, by Marilee G. Adams, Book, 2004, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, $16.95.

Author and speaker Denis Waitley once wrote, "There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist or accept the responsibility for changing them." If you believe in the latter, you will like Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 7 Powerful Tools for Life and Work by Marilee G. Adams.

Adams is founder and president of the Inquiry Institute, a consultancy and knowledge center for leadership, team, and organizational effectiveness. She is the originator of the QuestionThinking System, an inquiry and self-management methodology. Adams is a psychotherapist and organizational consultant with clients ranging from individuals to Fortune 500 companies.

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life is divided into two parts: a story and a workbook. Written as a fable, the first part introduces you to the seven tools. The second part is a workbook to help you participate in your own learning by asking how you can apply the tools.

The main character of the fable, Ben Knight, is at a crossroads. He has been hired by Alexa Harte, a woman he had worked with before, to save Qtec, a company that most Wall Street naysayers predict will fold before the year is out.

The problem is that Ben's "I have all the answers" attitude that worked so well before is no longer giving him the results he wants. In fact, everything is working against him to the point that he now feels he has to resign for the company to have any chance of surviving. That isn't the only fly in his ointment. His second marriage of eight months is quickly unraveling.

To the say the least, Ben is feeling pretty sorry for himself. Offering his resignation to Alexa results in three unexpected responses: an introduction, a choice, and a prediction. Joseph, who bills himself as an inquiry coach, introduces Ben to the QuestionThinking System. Ben's choice is to do the same old same old or make a commitment to change how he approaches things. The prediction concerns what Alexa thinks the outcome will be.

Hope and curiosity (he's not fired yet) mingled with some skepticism prompt Ben to start a journey that will transform his life by learning how to change his thinking, actions, and results by asking smart intentional questions.

Throughout the story, Joseph, the inquiry coach, assists Ben to learn the seven tools. One of them is "Putting the Power of Questions to Work." Notice...

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