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Humble Inquiry, Second Edition: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling Kindle Edition
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We live, say Edgar and Peter Schein, in a culture of “tell.” All too often we tell others what we think they need to know or should do. But whether we are leading or following, what matters most is we get to the truth. We have to develop a commitment to sharing vital facts and identifying faulty assumptions—it can mean the difference between success and failure. This is why we need Humble Inquiry more than ever.
The Scheins define Humble Inquiry as “the gentle art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building relationships based on curiosity and interest in the other person.” It was inspired by Edgar's twenty years of work in high-hazard industries and the health-care system, where honest communication can literally mean the difference between life and death.
In this new edition the authors look at how Humble Inquiry differs from other kinds of inquiry, offer examples of it in action, and show how to overcome the barriers that keep us telling when we should be asking. This edition offers a deepening and broadening of this concept, seeing it as not just a way of posing questions but an entire attitude that includes better listening, better responding to what others are trying to tell us, and better revealing of ourselves. Packed with case examples and a full chapter of exercises and simulations, this is a major contribution to how we see human conversational dynamics and relationships, presented in a compact, personal, and eminently practical way.
From the Publisher
Ed Schein and Peter Schein
Ed Schein is a former Professor Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. In 2009 he published Helping, a book on the general theory and practice of giving and receiving help followed in 2013 by Humble Inquiry which explores why helping is so difficult in western culture. It won the 2013 business book of the year award from the Dept. of Leadership of the University of San Diego. He continues to consult with various local and international organizations on a variety of organizational culture and career development issues, with special emphasis on safety and quality in health care, the nuclear energy industry, and the US Forest Service. An important focus of this new consulting is to focus on the interaction of occupational/organizational subcultures and how they interact with career anchors to determine the effectiveness and safety of organizations.
Peter Schein is a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. He provides help to start-ups and expansion-phase technology companies. His expertise draws on over twenty years of industry experience in marketing and corporate development at technology pioneers. Peter spent eleven years in corporate development and product strategy at Sun Microsystems. At Sun, Peter led numerous minority equity investments in mission-critical technology ecosystems. He drove acquisitions of technology innovators that developed into multi-million dollar product lines at Sun. Through these experiences developing new strategies organically and merging smaller entities into a large company, Peter developed a keen focus on the underlying organizational culture challenges that growth engenders in innovation-driven enterprises.
|Humble Inquiry, Second Edition||Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust||Humble Consulting: How to Provide Real Help Faster||Helping: How to Offer, Give, and Receive Help|
|Other Schein Products||This worldwide bestseller offers simple guidance for building the kind of open and trusting relationships vital for tackling global systemic challenges and developing adaptive, innovative organizations.||Bestselling author and father of organizational culture studies, Edgar Schein and Peter Schein trail-blaze with a creative perspective on leadership that encourages vulnerability and empathy as a form of strength.||Nowhere else in the business world is communication more important than to consultants. In an increasingly complex world, a new level of skill is required, but begins with a seemingly paradoxical skill for a consultant: how to ask rather than tell.||In this seminal book, a preeminent author and scholar analyzes the dynamics of helping relationships and shows how to provide help that is really helpful.|
—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.”
“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
“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
“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
“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
--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B08DG9CLB3
- Publisher : Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 2nd edition (February 23, 2021)
- Publication date : February 23, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 3038 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 176 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #29,410 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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While Schein writes the book, he explains how to create a climate where the individual feels motivated to communicate in teams and with leaders freely. To create this environment, a leader must build a strong rapport and trusting relationship with their subordinates. Schein suggests that this creates an interdependence between the leader and the employee. One where the employee would feel comfortable correcting their boss if they deemed it necessary. In the book, the author gives an example of nurses and techs in hospitals. Techs and nurses are reprimanded by doctors through their hierarchical structure, and this can lead to them not feeling comfortable expressing legitimate concerns or pointing out a mistake a doctor might make.
Schein illustrates that the United States culture values individualism and task accomplishment over relationship building as a method for accomplishing work. The author challenges the status quo and stresses the importance of relationships in our modern society. Leaders and organizations can benefit immensely by incorporating humble inquiry into their daily work life. People from all occupations can incorporate ideas from the book and apply them differently without necessarily ignoring current cultural values. Leaders especially will find value in this read and gain insight into how they can be a better and more effective leader.
The author also emphasizes why it is vital to fully understand and diagnose mutual intentions in any situation before building relationships. Schein’s method of writing functions as an invitation to be more personal because it is the key to create a closer relationship. He also presents two communication models that work together to help people understand each other. Schein relays that the ability to make humble inquires will become ever more critical in life as today’s society becomes more complex and interdependent.
Humble Inquiry does a great job of reminding the reader that asking the tough questions is an essential part of life. Schein mentions three areas of life when asking the tough questions is particularly challenging, including your personal life, organizations, and being an effective leader. While some people inquire, others tell. Schein truly challenges the reader to think more broadly and deeply about the role of the relationship in our complex and diverse world. The book relays how it is essential to reflect more about past injuries; in doing so, the reader will be able to use their previous inquiries as a learning opportunity.
This book is written in a clear, simple style and provides helpful practical insights for those who are interested in building successful relationships within an organization, team, or simply anyone who wants to enhance everyday communication skills. Schein conveys that innovation and risk-taking are processes that allow people to find themselves. The ultimate challenge is for us to discover what kind of manager and leader we are while using humble inquiry. Overall, Schein’s most meaningful suggestion for the reader is to do less telling, more asking, and listen better to acknowledge others with mutual respect to build a positive relationship. As a group and readers, we strongly suggest this book because it will benefit all levels of an organization and even one's personal life.
Schein clearly articulates the many benefits of his “Humble Inquiry” method through relational examples and situational application across disciplines. To start, he defines what exactly “Humble Inquiry” is, the art of asking with “here and now humility” instead of telling in relationships. Schein defines three types of humility: basic humility, optional humility, and here and now humility. The other key facet of this perspective is the inquiry aspect. Schein insists that inquiry is both “an art and a science”. While inquiry and question formulation has been thoroughly researched, daily it is often overlooked within human interaction.
Throughout the book, Schein provides examples of opportunities for “Humble Inquiry”, as well as missed opportunities. Through personal life examples in the text, we can see that “what we ask, how we ask it, where we ask it, and when we ask it all matter” (pg. 19). Whether the situation is peer to peer, professor to student, CEO to Human Resources, or oncologist to patient, relationships are strengthened through humble inquiry. This tactic of building relationships increases trust amongst individuals.
Schein’s writing style is simple enough for anyone to grasp the concept of the “Humble Inquiry”. He uses many examples throughout the novel to help bolster his argument. These examples show how a conversation can change for the better by using the “Humble Inquiry” outlook. Additionally, by contrasting Humble Inquiry with other kinds of inquiry, Schein can further convey the benefits of humble inquiry in a variety of different settings.
By conveying the message that the “Humble Inquiry” is an attitude, Schein suggests that this concept is a lifestyle change. A change that will help build relationships and create a more thoughtful and productive work environment. Schein conveys the point that by “telling”, we suggest that the other person did not know what we are trying to tell them. Instead, by “asking”, we can communicate the same message while empowering the other person by making it seem as if they assisted in reaching the proposed verdict or conclusion. Schein proposes that everyone, not just managers and executives, take on this attitude. His “Ask don’t tell” model can be just as beneficial to subordinates as it can be to leaders
Schein also gives practical advice on developing the attitude of Humble Inquiry in three main domains: 1) Personal life, to enable dealing with increasing culture diversity; 2) Organizations, to identify needs for collaboration among interdependent work units and to facilitate such collaboration; and 3) Role as leader or manager, to create the relationships and the climate to promote open communication needed for effective task performance (pg. 99).
In summary, Schein’s ability to express the benefits of the “Humble Inquiry” makes the read very worthwhile. Any workplace can use the “Humble Inquiry” to increase trust, inspire coworkers, and create stronger bonds with each other. In his final thought, Schein, explains that we will all find ourselves from time to time “in situations that require innovation and some risk taking.” (pg 110) It is in these moments that Schein challenges us to “not succumb to telling, but to take charge with Humble Inquiry.” (pg. 110). In a modern workplace culture where “tell”, not ask is all too often the norm, Schein’s book would be a fantastic resource for any company or individual that wants to take their relationships and organization to the next level.
Top reviews from other countries
This is a very easy read with deceptively simple advice, but summarises decades of experience on what really brings people and teams together, and what avoids the significant problems that result from a failure of people to effectively communicate.
It is aimed at the American market, and most of the examples are about the way Americans tend to interact. It is particularly good in explaining how individualism and the competitive spirit can get in the way of effective communications. But before others get too self-assured that the problems explained here are unique to the USA, its worth a little humility and willingness to be open to the ideas. They are simple, but profound and I suspect universally applicable.
He always writes in a very human and simple way. I think it takes courage to write simply, as it can sound obvious and ..."surely everyone knows that." But the areas where Schein works - teams, social dynamics and self-reflection - these are highly complex and ambiguous domains. He brings en beautiful clarity, which I always appreciate.
This book is worth your time and money for numerous reasons. For me, the key point was a continuation of his work around Process Consultation and how to give and take advice.
In summary, you’ve got two ears and one mouth - use them in that order by asking question, then shut-up and see what the others have to say.
A delightful, masterly guide on how to engage, connect and collaborate with others in a more meaningful way for both parties.