Welcome All!

If you do not adapt, if you do not learn, you will wither, you will die.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why Not If So Then Yes the Other Way Around

Relentless reflection and curiosity is what I wish upon everyone. It mitigates ignorance, arrogance, boxed-in-thinking, single-mindedness, and ego-inflation just to name a few. And it’s plain fun and enriching.

Just a few questions to get you started – call it appetizers:

1.   If I weren’t here right now, in this room, in this meeting, within this department, how would things be different? Would they be that much different at all? Leadership trap: If it’s too much about you, you won’t be successful, nor will your team.

2.   Are you afraid to argue? Then forget about collaboration, engagement, progress, and many other desirable objectives.

3.   When and how did you last question the status quo? Do you dare to be the lone voice of disagreement? Do you really?

4.   Are you creating something positive or avoiding something negative? Both? Neither? Something completely different?

5.   Do you ask questions that simply affirm what you already know or do you ask questions to expose issues and perspectives you may not be not aware of?

I think of Roger Martin’s concept of integrative thinking in The Opposable Mind” where he asserts that “Highly successful people are capable of holding two opposable ideas in fruitful tension … without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other. They are able to produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea.” Now most people I know aren’t even able to accomplish this in a team context, where person A holds one idea, person B holds an opposing idea and instead of making it into something much better than C both are frantically hanging on to their own perspective as if their idea were the only life vest in an ocean of dangers.
I still have some work to do. How about you? Are you willing, ready, and daring enough to learn, unlearn, and relearn? A good place to start is by observing obsessively and asking yourself and others a lot of questions – the right questions.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble.
It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

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