Your Inquiry begins with defining the situation and challenges you see, needs you think you can address, and then stating your initial ideas to meet those needs. During your Inquiry, you will test those ideas, based on the evidence of your experience and learning. The outcome of the Inquiry will be to decide on the best course of action for you and your organization to test these ideas.
A major weakness of traditional problem solving approaches is the lack of awareness around the assumptions (unstated contexts or paradigms) underlying the issue — or even what the real issues are, which always involve meeting some need. This lack of awareness stems from a decision making process that fails to take into account the larger and longer-term context, align the competing and diverse views and different data around unclear questions and assumptions. This is as true for individuals as it is for groups.
That’s why we start with baseline assumptions and ideas, as well as statement of values and vision driving the Inquiry initially.
Here is a sample of the questions to set the baseline for the Inquiry:
1. As you move forward, what market need, problem, issue or opportunity do you see which your organization might address? (Why is it important to you and your organization?)
2. What challenge, question, barrier, concern, problem, issue do you face in meeting this need? (Who else is your Challenge/question important to, and why?)
3. What is your preliminary answer now? (Hint: Write quickly your best guess, hunch, or thoughts.)
4. What are your organization and personal values, beliefs, goals, purpose, competencies, etc. and how are they impacting and driving your question and your answer?
5. Based on your answer, what action will you take? What action are you taking now?
Here are samples of specific
Pre-work Baseline questionnaires:
Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society – for student leaders to determine “What Kind of Leader Can I Be?”
Presidio Graduate School, Executive Education Certificate in Sustainable Management: “What’s Your Big Idea?”PDF DOWNLOAD
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management – Leadership and Ethics course in the Executive MBA: “Ethical Leadership Challenge Inquiry”PDF DOWNLOAD
University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business – Executive Integral Leadership Program: “How will you add value to your organization?”PDF DOWNLOAD
Let us know what your questions, challenges, problems, issues are that you think Pragmatic Inquiry might help you address.