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Présentation de l'éditeur

We live, says Ed Schein, in a culture of Tell. Rather than trying to genuinely relate to other people we tell them what we think they need to know or should do based on assumptions we’ve made about them. But telling makes people feel inferior—it shuts them down. This is particularly true of interactions between superiors and subordinates, and that’s where it’s particularly problematic. In today’s complex, interconnected, rapidly changing world hierarchy means nothing—anybody anywhere could have that vital fact or insight that could mean the difference between success or disaster. A free flow of information is crucial.

Humble Inquiry builds the kinds of positive, trusting, balanced relationships that encourage honest and open interactions in both our professional and personal lives. 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 he explores the concept of humility, looks at how Humble Inquiry differs from other kinds of inquiry, offers examples of Humble Inquiry in action in many different settings, and shows how to overcome the cultural, organizational and psychological barriers that keep us from practicing it This is a major new contribution to how we see human dynamics and relationships, presented in a compact, personal, eminently practical way.

Biographie de l'auteur

Edgar Schein is the Society of Sloan Fellows Professor of Management Emeritus and a Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is the author of many articles and books, including Helping, Process Consultation Revisited, The Corporate Culture Survival Guide, DEC Is Dead Long Live DEC Organizational Culture and Leadership, and Career Anchors. He has defined the field of organizational culture and has consulted with many organizations in the United States and overseas on organizational culture, organization development, process consultation, and career dynamics. What has distinguished Schein's work is his combination of sociology, anthropology, and social psychology.


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Amazon.com: 110 commentaires
54 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Cross industry lessons in humble inquiry? 21 septembre 2013
Par Jody Hoffer Gittell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
FIFTY YEARS OPENING FRONTIERS 7 octobre 2013
Par Gilbert Brenson-Lazan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
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
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Bitácora: <[...]>
Address: 37 Sky View Drive, West Hartford, CT. 06117
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A book every leader, researcher and consultant should read 19 octobre 2013
Par Mrs. A. van der Zouwen - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Best Business Books 2013: Managerial Self-Help by Sally Helgesen 6 décembre 2013
Par strategy+business - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
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."
25 internautes sur 31 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Not very helpful 15 décembre 2013
Par Mark Seidl - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
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.
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