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Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling [Kindle Edition]

Edgar H. Schein
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"I have had the privilege of working with Ed Schein. Reading Humble Inquiry I could hear his voice asking me those humble questions that joined us in a mutual search for the answer. His book distills what he has learned and practiced in a lifetime of helping high-powered leaders be even more successful."--Anthony F. Earley, Jr., Chairman, CEO and President, PG&E Corporation "Schein helps us understand the importance of transcending hierarchy and authority to build authentic relationships predicated on trust and respect. Humble iInquiry is a powerful approach to building safe environments for our people and, ultimately, our patients."--Gary S. Kaplan MD, Chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason Health System "Quiet wisdom from an expert, enlivened by personal examples. Insightful and easy to read, it made me look again at my own behavior in my relationships, both at work and in the home."--Charles Handy "An invaluable guide for a consultant trying to understand and untangle system and interpersonal knots. Written with a beguiling simplicity and clarity, it is laden with wisdom and practicality." --Irvin Yalom, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Stanford University "The lessons contained in this deceptively simple book reach beyond the author's experience gained from a lifetime of consultation to organizations of all sizes and shapes. It provides life lessons for us all. If, as a result of reading this book, you begin to practice the art of humble asking, you will have taken an important step toward living wisely."--Samuel Jay Keyser, Peter de Florez Professor Emeritus, MIT "This book seriously challenges leaders to re-examine the emphasis on task orientation and 'telling' subordinates how best to do their jobs. Humble Inquiry increases organizational capacity to learn more from cross-cultural teamwork, reduces stress, and increases organizational engagement and productivity."--Jyotsna Sanzgiri, MBA, PhD, Professor, California School of Professional Psychology, Alliant International University "This book is particularly important for leaders who in these complex times need advice and tools for building trust in their relationships with subordinates individually or in teams."--Danica Purg, President, IEDC-Bled School of Management, Bled, Slovenia "This book is an exercise in inquiry by a recognized master of humble insight."--Art Kleiner, Editor-in-Chief, Booz & Company/strategy+business "Ed Schein has provided a new and thoughtful reframing of interpersonal dynamics through the notion of Humble Inquiry. This short book is packed with insights as Schein rigorously explores the impact of his ideas in his usually clear and readable style."--Michael Brimm, Professor of Organizational Behavior, INSEAD Europe "Humble Inquiry is an elegant treatment of how to go about building and sustaining solid, trusting relationships in or out of the workplace. A masterful take on a critical human skill too infrequently practiced."--John Van Maanen, Erwin Schell Professor of Management and Professor of Organization Studies, MIT "A fast read and full of insight! Schein uses stories from his personal life and his successful career as a process consultant that pointedly ask, 'How willing are you to cast aside hierarchy? How personal are you willing to be?' Considering the cultural, occupational, generational, and gender communication barriers we face every day, Humble Inquiry proposes a very practical, nonthreatening approach to bridging those gaps and increasing the mutual understanding that leads to operational excellence."--Rosa Antonia Carrillo, MSOD, safety leadership consultant "A remarkably valuable guide for anyone interested in leading more effectively and building strong relationships. Ed Schein presents vivid examples grounded in a lifetime of experience as husband, father, teacher, administrator, and consultant."--Robert B. McKersie, Professor Emeritus, Sloan School of Management, MIT "Ed Schein has an eye for bold yet subtle insights into the big picture and a knack for writing about them clearly. Humble Inquiry--like his previous book Helping--shows that he is equally talented at bringing fresh thinking to well-trodden ground."--Grady McGonagill, EdD, Principal, McGonagill Consulting "What did I gain from reading Humble Inquiry? I became more aware of the subtle but powerful ways we affect each other as we talk and how the right kind of questions can dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of communication, with benefits that range from increased patient safety and satisfaction to employee motivation and morale to organizational performance. You can't afford to not know about this."--Anthony Suchman, MD, MA, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry "With the world as his classroom, Ed Schein continues to guide us through modern day chaos with the powerful behaviors of Helping and Humble Inquiry. This is a must-read for anyone who truly wishes to achieve important goals!"--Marjorie M. Godfrey, Codirector, The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice Microsystem Academy

Kurzbeschreibung

The Key to Effective Communication

Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry.

Ed Schein defines Humble Inquiry as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” In this seminal work, Schein contrasts Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, shows the benefits Humble Inquiry provides in many different settings, and offers advice on overcoming the cultural, organizational, and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it.

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Baustein in Scheins Gesamtgebäude 11. Juni 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Dieser Band ist der nächste Baustein in Scheins großartigem Konzept von Beratung, deren andere alle in Deutsch vorliegen.
Für alle, die auch 'Humble Inquiry' als Methode richtigen Fragestellens kennenlernenen wollen: Die dt. Übersetzung erscheint zur Frankfurter Buchmesse 2014.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Vom Nutzen der Frage 4. Januar 2014
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Ed Schein präzisiert in diesem Buch seine bisherigen Ausführungen auf Frage und Fragetechnik.
Er bietet einen Zugang zu Kunden, Klienten, Beratenen für viele Berufsgruppen. Das Besondere ist die einfühlsame, wertschätzende Art des Einsatzes der Fragetechnik, die achtsam sein lässt für den ablaufendenh Prozess, aber insbesondere für die Akzeptanz bei befragten, seine Ängste und Widerstände. Schein arbeitet insoweit in bester transaktionsanlytischer Tradition mit OK-Haltung gegenüber den Befragten und sich selbst. Ein wichtiger Impuls ist die Entschleunigung, die ein Prozess so erfahren kann. Deshalb ist für praktizierende Berater, Coaches, Supervisoren und Mediatoren Scheins konkreter Beitrag so wertvoll
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 von 5 Sternen  107 Rezensionen
53 von 56 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Cross industry lessons in humble inquiry? 21. September 2013
Von Jody Hoffer Gittell - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
One question I have is how this humble inquiry approach can gain traction in industries where it seems to be totally undervalued. It is not the leadership approach that tends to be promoted in MBA programs - perhaps quite the opposite.

I wanted to share an experience I had while teaching about relational coordination - coordinating work processes through shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect - in the MIT Operations Academy with executives from an international energy company who were trying hard to improve the safety culture of their organization. One executive asked me: "What kind of leadership is conducive to relational coordination?" I answered after thinking for a moment: "I don't know - I haven't studied it but probably something like leading through humble inquiry." He responded "That's what I thought and that's not what gets rewarded here." It turns out that one of their senior leaders who was being recognized at the graduation ceremony was credited with helping to turn around the troubled Alaska region. He explained what happened: "I realized I wasn't going to accomplish anything by staying at headquarters. I went up to the region and talked to front-line operators and asked: What is your job and how can I help you to do it better?" What he learned through this process and perhaps just as importantly the relationships he built as a leader helped to turn around the safety outcomes of that region.

This process sounded a lot like humble inquiry - like in the Toyota Production System and at Southwest Airlines in which managers lead by going to the front line to "see" and "ask." Recognizing that they may know a lot about the strategic environment but to really understand the operations they have to engage in humble inquiry with front-line employees who do the work everyday and are indeed the experts. In effect the humble inquiry that Schein describes so clearly is a key ingredient of relational leadership, and it builds relational coordination for high performance.
23 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen FIFTY YEARS OPENING FRONTIERS 7. Oktober 2013
Von Gilbert Brenson-Lazan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Dr. Edgar H. Schein has been a hero of mine since one of his first books (Coercive Persuasion, 1961) convinced me to change my pre-med studies to Social Psychology more than half a century ago. Along the way, his important contributions to the fields of organizational and leadership psychology nudged me to move on from family and group therapy and work with organizations, communities and teams. Now, at 86, he has just published yet another landmark work: “Humble Inquiry” (Barrett-Kohler, 2013). He defines it as “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based upon curiosity and interest in the other person”.

In this latest jewel, he compares different types of inquiry, explains the benefits of humble inquiry, identifies the internal and external inhibitors of developing and practicing it, and finally--and most importantly--offers specific, pragmatic and effective strategies for developing an attitude of humble inquiry that transcends hierarchy and authority, in order to build trust, respect and meaningful conversations.

I not only have Dr. Schein to thank for discovering what would be my lifelong career and also for reinventing myself a couple of times along the way, but also for reminding me that fifty years later we can still be very productive and contribute as writers. I promise to follow the example.

Gilbert Brenson Lazan
Founding Partner, Amauta International, LLC

E-Mail: amauta@me.com
Website: <[...]>
Bitácora: <[...]>
Address: 37 Sky View Drive, West Hartford, CT. 06117
15 von 17 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A book every leader, researcher and consultant should read 19. Oktober 2013
Von Mrs. A. van der Zouwen - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
If you want to find out things, just start with asking humble questions and take time to listen instead of telling. This is important, because many mistakes could have been avoided by just listening to people on the shop floor. They have the information you need. Intrusive asking or telling shuts people down. Humble inquiry opens space for people to share their information and ideas. It is a humble book in itself, only a 110 easy to read pages with a lot of wisdom, presented in a humble way. Warmly recommended.
24 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Not very helpful 15. Dezember 2013
Von Mark Seidl - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The book introduces us to Humble Inquiry which is a way of asking questions that builds trust and relationships. While the idea has merit, the book spends far too much time on defining what trust, relationships and culture in the context of this idea rather than focusing on the strategies for learning and applying the approach.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Best Business Books 2013: Managerial Self-Help by Sally Helgesen 6. Dezember 2013
Von strategy+business - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
Concise, cogent, and informed by a wealth of direct experience, "Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling," by Edgar H. Schein, is a testament to the importance of asking questions in a way that enables others to feel comfortable giving honest answers. A pioneer in organizational development whose work has been instrumental in shaping the field since the 1950s, Schein distills lessons from a lifetime of practice in solving difficult organizational problems, helping people build strong relationships, and moving cultures in a positive direction. Simple and profoundly wise, "Humble Inquiry," the best business book of the year in this category, has the makings of a classic.

Although the book wears its learning lightly, its ambitions are far from modest, for Schein sets out to do nothing less than identify and address the root causes of miscommunication in our business culture. In his view, there are two essential problems. The first is our preference for telling rather than asking. Schein finds this especially characteristic of managers in the United States, who are immersed in a tradition of pragmatic problem solving that places a premium on efficiency and speed. The second problem is the high value many leaders place on task accomplishment as opposed to relationship building, which can make them impatient with the slow work of earning real trust. In Schein’s experience, many leaders either are not aware of these cultural biases or don’t care enough to be bothered with redressing them.

Schein believes that such attitudes have become newly problematic in a diverse global environment in which a growing proportion of individuals do not necessarily share those values, and in which teams are an increasingly common organizational unit. Despite the prevalence of language exalting teamwork, Schein notes that promotional and rewards systems in many companies remain almost entirely individualistic. This creates an emphasis on star performers that can undermine engagement and trust.

The disjunction becomes particularly acute when leaders simply assume that positional power ensures that their subordinates will correctly interpret and act upon their instructions. Those who take this approach are often content to toss off a pro forma request for assent—“Does anyone have any problems with this approach?”—and leave it at that. Blinded by presumptions about the value of their status and unaware of the cultural and status constraints under which subordinates may labor, leaders intent on speed and efficiency often miss essential information. In high-risk fields, these miscommunications can have catastrophic consequences, against which checklists and professional training offer insufficient protection.

At several points in the book, Schein illustrates the potential for miscommunication by using examples from a typical British hospital. The operating team consists of a British senior surgeon who also works with the royal family, an anesthesiologist recently arrived from Japan, a surgical nurse from the U.S. who’s in the U.K. because of her husband’s job, and a surgical tech from a working-class London district. Though each member of the team is a highly trained professional, these diverse individuals all have cultural reasons to avoid sharing unwelcome information with the surgeon. The anesthesiologist comes from a culture in which those with higher status cannot be openly confronted, so he appears to agree with the surgeon even when his experience suggests another approach. The nurse is sensitive to the anesthesiologist’s status and does not want to embarrass him in front of the surgeon by questioning his decision to go along with whatever the surgeon says. The tech cannot imagine anyone on the team listening to a concern voiced by someone of his background and so fails to offer any views and just follows orders.

Schein describes the various circumstances under which cultural and status constraints inhibit this team from engaging in the kind of frank exchange that their complex work requires. Though each team member has specific expertise, they all fail to use it to advantage unless those with higher status humble themselves by asking questions that demonstrate their reliance on others. He further notes that some variation on this situation occurs in every kind of organization, often every day, because even as leaders struggle to create conditions that promote free exchange, expressing humility can make them feel vulnerable. True humility requires admitting dependence on those lower in the hierarchy. Only when leaders are able to overcome their fear of exhibiting such dependence can they allow their curiosity to lead them to vital information.

"Humble Inquiry" redresses this condition by showing managers a variety of ways to frame questions to which they do not know the answer. Schein is careful to distinguish humble questions from leading questions, rhetorical questions, embarrassing questions, or statements masquerading as questions. He also notes that the burden for asking such questions always falls on the higher-status person in an exchange. Humble inquiry is therefore especially useful as a management practice.

Like Peter Drucker, Schein rarely cites or draws from work that is not his own, an approach that paradoxically gives his observations added authority and weight. The methods he sets forth have obvious utility in many situations, but seem particularly useful for organizations undertaking complex initiatives such as culture change. In fact, it’s not extreme to say that no leader should attempt such a venture without first consulting "Humble Inquiry."
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