Leadership 4 Learning - #ASK - What happens when we ASK

What Happens When We #ASK

Recently I was speaking to a deputy principal who had read my blog post -“Why Asking Is So Important”. In that post, I shared about the importance of asking when we are staring down the barrel of change.

Many of the schools I work with are seeking shifts in the cultures around their appraisal process. In many cases, they face challenges in shifting the traditional perception of judgement that sits with the process.

As I work with my clients, we seek to make the shift to learning centred - through the process of Inquiry into practice - appraisal processes that align appraisal, teacher portfolios of best practice and accountability measures that are required by ERO.

As mentioned in the last blog - we work together to design an aspirational vision through a process of collaborative storytelling, ideation and thematic analysis. By doing this, we connect with the essence of what it is to learn and grow as a professional. We can take that collaborative thought of all parts of the whole and bring it together to discover and to identify what appraisal can be at its best. But what happens when you ask in this way? I know that, for many leaders, there is fear of asking. Fear of what would happen if I get something I don’t agree with or don’t know what to do with?

However, the superpower of asking far outweighs the fear of what the outcome may be. This is what happens when teachers in a school build together, through collaboration and shared stories of what amazing learning looks like, to capture what it needs to be.

When teachers are allowed to share their experiences and ideas, primarily through a story in the first instance, external motivation shifts to intrinsic motivation. Why? Because it creates intrinsic motivation - a shared purpose through contributing, creating and clarifying.

Extrinsic Motivation to Intrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic to Intrinsic.jpg

Daniel H. Pink, in his book “Drive - The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us”, talks about the three elements of intrinsic motivation:




In the case of this particular #ASK, we are talking about connecting with the purpose of intrinsic motivation. The other two elements come later in the change process. Identifying purpose also connects with the work of Simon Sinek, who famously coined the phrase “Start With Why”.

Every time I run this particular kind of workshop, teachers leave the session feeling heard, engaged and onboard with future actions. They are intrinsically motivated to work towards the shared vision created in the session. The outcome of #ASK is that culture, collaboration and communication around the focus of the session is strengthened.

What Happens When You #ASK

WHAT happens when you ask.jpg

Through a process of storytelling and capturing the “Think, Feel, Say and Do” empathy map for that story, schools and teams of staff can gain detailed clarity through communication and creation of what it is and what it will be.

The collaboration created through contributing their story opens people's minds and imagination in ways that allow the creation of a new shared vision. To bring that all together in a way that is usable as a vision in which you can put actions around, requires excellent communication, collaboration and culture.

The process of #ASK is the start point of building stronger cultures around change.

Last week I worked, with a team of teachers, through this process of collaborative storytelling, ideation and thematic analysis to arrive at the first draft of what highly effective teaching and learning will be at their school. You see, it's not just for re-framing appraisal and empowering Deepen Teacher Inquiry. Rather, it’s a portable process that can be used at the start of any change project.

So, you're looking down the barrel of motivating the masses. Gaining a shift in your change process. “Start With Why” by #ASK.

Go Well....


Fullan, M. (2011). Change Leader. Wiley. Kindle Edition.  

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books. New York.

The Power Of Ask Instead Of Tell. To Create Change, Leadership Is More Important Than Authority - Greg Satell.



Fullan, M. (2011). Change Leader. Learning To Do What Matters Most. Wiley. Kindle Edition. 

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead Books. New York.