A powerful question has the capacity to travel well, that is to spread beyond the place where it began into larger networks of conversation throughout an organization or a community. Questions that travel well are often the key to large-scale change.
Unfortunately, there is a prevailing belief in corporate life that real work consists primarily of detailed analysis (often delivered by experts), immediate decisions, and decisive action. This directly contradicts the perspective that effective knowledge-based change work consists of asking profound questions and hosting wide-ranging strategic conversations on issues of substance.
Leaders believe that they are being paid for fixing problems rather than for fostering breakthrough thinking and our reward systems support this behaviour. Between our deep attachment to the answer-any answer-and our anxiety over not knowing, we have inadvertently thwarted our collective capacity for deep creativity and fresh perspectives.
Unfortunately, given the unprecedented challenges we face both in our own organizations and as a global community, we need these skills now more than ever.
As we enter an era in which systemic issues often lie at the root of critical challenges, where diverse perspectives are required for sustainable solutions, and where cause-and-effect relationships are not immediately apparent, the capacity to raise penetrating questions that challenge current operating assumptions is key to creating a positive future.
In this issue we focus on the role of clear thinking in creating executable strategies for change. In the second article in our Change Mastery Series, Alan Little focuses attention on the real challenge of creating executable change strategy, while our Electrocomponents Plc case study offers an example of one organisations approach to developing leadership thinking using our proven Think-IN methodology.
CEO, Crelos Ltd