In business, what if you had a question vault equivalent to Bob Hope’s joke vault?

To comedians, jokes, stories and quotes are valuable and worth protecting and preserving.

Bob Hope was arguably the most successful comedian that ever lived. Over the years Bob Hope employed dozens of writers to create material, including jokes to use in his famous comedy routines. The jokes used as well as those not used were categorized by subject matter and filed in cabinets – in a fire-proof and theft-proof vault in his office next to his residence in North Hollywood, California. Bob Hope could access this “joke vault,” his personal “cache of comedy” to create comedy routines for “live,” radio and television appearances.

You may be thinking – Why can’t I just keep doing what I’m doing? Organizing my questions and asking them more deliberately looks like more work for marginally better results…

What if:

you could think bigger? – whenever you ask a question, more than likely, you will receive an answer. Whenever someone else talks, you have a chance to learn something you didn’t know.

you could act faster? – asking better questions helps you vett opportunties and gain confidence that what you are doing is your best option.

you could realize better results? – Questions create options. The person with the most options will make the best decisions more times than not.

Let’s experiment and find out what kind of results your question vault can generate. Here is a link to categories of questions for you to use to start your question vault.

Instead of piling-on more questions for the sake of asking more questions, what your question vault really does for you is help you form the habit of asking questions where you weren’t before in addition to increasing your skill with questions.

Choose a few categories that you would use most and learn those by memory, or at least keep them easily accessible. The other questions are categorized and you know where to find them when you need them. Better yet, when you encounter a good question, you have a place to put it.

The idea of a Question Vault is no laughing matter. By the way, the entire “joke vault” – 85,000 jokes, has been digitally scanned and is available at the Bob Hope Gallery of Entertainment http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/bobhope .

Your Question Vault “Starter Kit”

This is a list of several dozen powerful questions of the several thousand questions I have in my question vault.

Open-Ended Questions (begin with):

What if…?

Are you open to considering…?

What action could you take to demonstrate movement or commitment toward your objective?

What action could you think about taking to reach your objective?

Tell me more / Why do you say that?

If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Leadership:
1. Tell me about a time when you accomplished something significant that wouldn’t have happened if you had not been there to make it happen?


2. Tell me about a time when you were able to step into a situation, take charge, muster support and achieve good results?


3. Describe for me a time when you may have been disappointed in your behavior?


4. Tell me about a time when you had to discipline or fire a friend?


5. Tell me about a time when you’ve had to develop leaders under you?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Initiative and Follow-through:


1. Give me an example of a situation where you had to overcome major obstacles to achieve your objectives?


2. Tell me about a goal that you set that took a long time to achieve or that you are still working towards?


3. Tell me about a time when you won (or lost) an important contract?


4. Tell me about a time when you used your political savvy to push a program through that you really believed in?


5. Tell me about a situation that you had significant impact on because of your follow-through?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Thinking and Problem Solving:


1. Tell me about a time when you had to analyze facts quickly, define key issues, and respond immediately or develop a plan that produced good results?


2. If you had to do that activity over again, how would you do it differently?


3. Describe for me a situation where you may have missed an obvious solution to a problem?


4. Tell me about a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures?


5. Tell me about a time when you surmounted a major obstacle?

If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Communication:


1. Tell me about a time when you had to present a proposal to a person in authority and were able to do this successfully?


2. Tell me about a situation where you had to be persuasive and sell your idea to someone else?


3. Describe for me a situation where you persuaded team members to do things your way? What was the effect?


4. Tell me about a time when you were tolerant of an opinion that was different from yours?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Working Effectively with Others:
1. Give me an example that would show that you’ve been able to develop and maintain productive relations with others, though there were differing points of view?


2. Tell me about a time when you were able to motivate others to get the desired results?


3. Tell me about a difficult situation with a co-worker, and how you handled it?


4. Tell me about a time when you played an integral role in getting a team (or work group) back on track?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Work Quality:


1. Tell me about a time when you wrote a report that was well received. What do you attribute that to?


2. Tell me about a time when you wrote a report that was not well received. What do you attribute that to?


3. Tell me about a specific project or program that you were involved with that resulted in improvement in a major work area?


4. Tell me about a time when you set your sights too high (or too low)?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Creativity and Innovation:


1. Tell me about a situation in which you were able to find a new and better way of doing something significant?


2. Tell me about a time when you were creative in solving a problem?


3. Describe a time when you were able to come up with new ideas that were key to the success of some activity or project?


4. Tell me about a time when you had to bring out the creativity in others?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Priority Setting:


1. Tell me about a time when you had to balance competing priorities and did so successfully?


2. Tell me about a time when you had to pick out the most important things in some activity and make sure those got done?


3. Tell me about a time that you prioritized the elements of a complicated project?


4. Tell me about a time when you got bogged down in the details of a project?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Decision Making:


1. Describe for me a time when you had to make an important decision with limited facts?


2. Tell me about a time when you were forced to make an unpopular decision?


3. Describe for me a time when you had to adapt to a difficult situation. What did you do?


4. Tell me about a time when you made a bad decision?


5. Tell me about a time when you hired (or fired) the wrong person?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Ability to Work in Varying Work Conditions (stress, changing deadlines, etc.):


1. Tell me about a time when you worked effectively under pressure?


2. Tell me about a time when you were unable to complete a project on time?


3. Tell me about a time when you had to change work mid-stream because of changing organizational priorities?


4. Describe for me what you do to handle stressful situations?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Delegation:


1. Tell me about a time when you delegated a project effectively?


2. Tell me about a time when you did a poor job of delegating?


3. Describe for me a time when you had to delegate to a person with a full workload, and how you went about doing it?


If You’re Looking For Behaviors that Revolve Around Customer Service:


1. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irate customer?


2. Tell me about a time when you made a lasting, positive impression on a customer?


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