Monday, January 26, 2015

Ask more questions

There are a lot of articles and posts coming out now around questions and the art of posing them. Positive, challenging or as a negotiating tactic, questions are never a bad thing.

Our current North American culture has us seen as inefficient or slow if we don't immediately jump to a solution when faced with a problem or complaint. However, sometimes asking the right questions can drive to an excellent outcome faster than simply responding with ideas from the potentially narrow reference framework we may have in a given situation.

Here's a few questions that might help the next time someone approaches you with a problem:

"Do you need someone to listen so you can work this out or do you need me to solve this for you?"
"Why is this issue important?"
"Who else could help with this issue?"
"What would happen if we let this sit for an hour/day/month...?"
"What ideas do you have ...? And what other ideas? ...and what other ideas?..."
"What can I offer you that makes me the right resource for this problem?"
"Has anyone else ever dealt with this?"

Like many problems, the real issue is often cloaked in a litany of smaller issues that may not need to be resolved to create a good solution. Asking questions can help determine the heart of the matter and the role we are expected to play. Assumptions are only as good as the questions we ask to confirm them.

Monday, January 19, 2015

IQ, EQ, CQ....

A terrific article on the validity of predictions using personality tests, some research from the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and a big Hurrah! for diversity in teaming.
Labels and buckets only work for static objects. We are so much more than the individual tasks and thoughts we produce across our varied days.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Plausible deniability = consensus

Consensus & collaboration… If we were hoping they were the buzz words of 2012, then the bad news is the conversation is as fierce and ongoing today as then.

Today, during a stimulating breakfast conversation with a wonderful woman, the topic was raised. "Grrr," I growled. "Consensus is another form of political correctness: needed in certain instances and a case of plausible deniability in others."

Plausible deniability is when a group uses consensus to reach a loose decision and then individuals feel free to distance themselves (in opinion or action) from the outcome of the meeting. It's lip service.  It's the equivalent of saying "Yes, that's what we agreed but not what I supported."

What does true collaboration look like in your world? How do you handle plausible deniability?

Monday, January 5, 2015

I predict… change…

2015  - we're still early in the century and already the last 15 years have seen changes (good & bad) of global proportions similar to the scale seen early in the 20th century. The world doesn't stop spinning and neither does the human race. Avoiding change is as useful and practical as not breathing.

Knowing change will happen:
Assume change means it will possibly be unexpected
If you only like predictability, don't go for weather forecasting, stock trading or planning your evenings based on the TV Guide
Prepare for change
Whether you keep lists, go for counseling, practice positive questioning or simply have spare batteries in the junk drawer – do what makes you feel more mentally/emotionally prepared to accept the unexpected
Laugh in the face of change
Because, really, it's amusing when it's not happening directly to you
Advocate change
Look like a forward thinker. Call it disruptive or continuous improvement; just see the glass as half full and encourage others to feel better about it.
Change something
Your wardrobe. Your hair. Your job. Your self-talk. Your eating habits. Pick something in your control and do it the way you've always really wanted to do it.

Change is living life day to day and knowing each decision is a point in time with the information you have at that moment.