The Cartesian questions are useful to help people think through possible change, and decisions they are making. This in turn can boost productivity in the long run.
The four Cartesian Questions are:
- What WOULD happen if you DID make that change? OR What WILL happen if I DO this?
- What WOULD happen if you DIDN'T make that change? or WHAt will happen if I DON'T do this
- What WOULDN'T happen if you DID make that change?
- What WOULDN'T happen if you DIDN'T make that change? OR What Won't Happen if I DON'T Do this?
Each one of these questions helps a person look at different angles of the decision and change process.
The first, "What would happen if you did make the change?", allows the person to visualize or forecast themselves in being successful with the change. There is a range of research which shows the importance of visualization - from Olympic sports training to personal productivity.
The second question "What would happen if you didn't make that change?". This question helps us explore lost opportunity. If I did not do it, what then....
The third question "What wouldn't happen if you DID make the change?" will be popular for those who like to mitigate risk. This gets us thinking about what we might avert.
Finally, the fourth question "What WOULDN"T happen if you DIDN"T make that change?" or 'WHAT WON"T Happen If I DON'T Do this?" helps us gain further clarity.
Have you used Cartesian Questions? If so, what impact have they had?
I hope that you will try them out and see how useful they are.