Humble Inquiry, Second Edition
The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling
Edgar H. Schein, Peter A. Schein
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—over 200,000 copies sold and translated into seventeen languages!
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.