Revealing power of a great question

There are a couple of great resources that should help you decide who to vote for in Monday's municipal by-election.  The Chamber  does a great job of giving you some insight into the candidates through their Talking Stick questions and answers, and their video interviews.  There is a comprehensive collection of questions and answers in the June 22 edition of the Fort McMurray Today.

All of the other media outlets have provided a variety of options to shed light on 14 individuals who have put their names on the ballot for consideration of two Council seats left vacant after the successful election of my friends Don Scott and Mike Allen to the provincial legislature.

I can't urge you strongly enough to take some time to look at as many of these "windows into the soul" as possible.  So much can be, and is revealed, in how these folks respond to questions, both straight forward and odd-ball.

Take for example the final question in this morning's Q&A in the Fort McMurray Today: "You've just won the $50 million jackpot. What's the FIRST thing you do with the money?"

I propose that the way the candidates answer this very innocuous question is very revealing.  Have a look at who answered.  Look at those who chose not to and their reasons for doing so.  Who jumped to that place of doing something good for their family first?  Who chose a more political response?  Hidden within the folds of this query that has absolutely nothing to do with municipal governance are incredible insights into the human being behind the election sign.

One of my favourite questions to ask during a formal interview with a job candidate relates to National Geographic magazine.  A part of my life since I was a little boy, this publication has story types that have formed its content for over a century, stories about insects, plants, animals, countries, people, science, etc.

"When you pick up a copy of National Geographic magazine, what are the story types that you are most drawn to?" I ask.

The answer they give is superfluous to their immediate reaction, and how they formulate a response.

When I was an acting student auditioning for a play back in the mid-1980s, the director asked me to leave the room, close the door, then come back in.

"Why?" I thought to myself, my brain spinning out of control trying to figure it out.

It was never about the act of coming back into the room, it was the accumulation of choices I made and actions I took that revealed a plethora of things about my character, resilience, responsiveness, and my potential as an actor.

So, my strong recommendation is to look beyond the veneer of the answers to the various questions that we will be asked of our 14 friends, neighbors, and colleagues who have courageously allowed their names to be printed on Monday's ballot.  Look deeper.  Learn from their tone, the depth of understanding they demonstrate, their ability to articulate a meaningful response, and ultimately, the feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you read or listen to their answer.

Who inspires you?  Who best aligns with your values?  Who do you instinctively trust?

And, if you get the chance to engage directly with some of the candidates, have a doozy of a question hidden in your back pocket and throw it at them.  The way they respond will fascinate you to no end.

"If you were to be ship-wrecked on a desert island with the choice of having one book with you, what book would it be?"

"What one word captures the essence of our region?"

"What is your favourite form of communication?"

What awesome revealing question would you ask?

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