Most of us live in the world of “how”. We dwell on solutions to problems, we argue about which of two or three ways to proceed or positions to support. We are bombarded with “sound bites” which polarize us into selecting one of two opposing opinions and deepening our belief in one or the other. We get frustrated and see ourselves worlds apart. However, we may be a lot closer than we think. We just haven’t paid enough attention to why we are trying to do it instead of how we are going to do it.
By asking the question “why might we want to….?” of a problem we are pursuing (how might we make better green stripes in our soap bar?), we often discover the real problem we should be trying to solve (how might we connote refreshment in our soap bar?). We find ourselves sprung out of the box, with many more and less restrictive options available.
This week’s Minsight:
Most of us have been raised in an educational and cultural system in which we are taught to listen and absorb rather than how to think. Our child-like ability to ask questions to inquire withers away as we enter school. We learn how to give answers to problems posed to us. As a leader, perhaps try to use “why might we want to?” questioning the next time you find your team spinning its wheels trying to solve the same problem over and over.