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Looking for the right answer?

11 May

Our culture places a huge emphasis on having the right answer!

It’s reinforced with our educational system that focuses on exams and aptitude tests and the answer at the back of the book.

little man lying on a question mark

In the work world, those who fix problems are the ones rewarded.  Asking questions is viewed as … well … not knowing the answer. And that’s indecisive.

We teach lawyers never to ask a question that you don’t know the answer to.

Sometimes, we get so absorbed with finding “the” answer, we grab on to “any” answer, which limits our ability and creativity to find a “good” answer.

A “good” question, on the other hand, is an invitation to think about something at a deeper level. Instead of focusing on the problem, it encourages a focus on the possibility.

I was so impressed several years ago, when I learned that some German companies have a position with the job title “Direktor Grundsatzfragen.” Translated, that means “Director of Fundamental Questions.” What a great responsibility that would be – to ask why or perhaps why not?

That’s like stepping back in time to being a kid again. Did you know that a 4 year old asks 437 questions per day?

Asking questions means not being limited by what we think things are but rather to free our minds to challenge those assumptions.

Here are some questions I particularly like:

  • What are we tolerating?
  • What are we waiting for?
  • What are we not seeing?
  • If you had a magic wand, what would you change?
  • What seed can we plant today that will make the most difference tomorrow?

I don’t know about you, but these questions simply stimulate my thinking.

So, the next time you are looking for the right answer when a problem arises, ponder on the right question to ask first. It will help to lead you to the answer.

Jeanette

 

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