In his book “The Fifth Discipline”, Peter Senge wrote an amazing section about the need to balance advocacy and inquiry when in debate with people over issues and ideas.

In a nutshell, some of the things that one needs to focus on include:

– Advocacy becomes most effective when you surface your thinking and assumptions that led you to your viewpoint.

– Inquiry becomes most effective when you actively probe the thinking of the other party in a non-judgmental way.

– You need to use both in the inevitable debate that arise as part of the influencing process. Advocacy alone can be ineffective because people want to be heard before they go along with your plans. Inquiry alone can also be ineffective because it can lead to your opinions never making it onto the table.

Stay tuned for tips on how to both advocate and inquire when debating ideas.

Russel Horwitz, Principal