Questions that Create Change

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Questions that create change. Challenging the status quo.

What conventional wisdom is prevailing in your industry, career or business that if questioned, could potentially open up a range of opportunities and/or possibilities for you?

It is a question that was the theme of a consulting call recently, where we explored the impact of a level of established thinking, and the effect this was having in growing a client’s business. In the consultation we discussed the impact of the thought  “this is how it has always been done in our industry” was having. And the impact in how this particular client was navigating a series of obstacles that they were facing, and coming up with solutions that allowed them to regroup, pivot and move forward. 

It is this ability to challenge the status quo, and dare to ask tough questions of ourselves that empowers us to face challenges. By asking these questions about how we go about our life and our businesses for example, we may open our minds  up to solutions that were not possible to us with our previous level of thinking.

Author Michael Lewis Money Ball : The Art of Winning an Unfair Game which went on become Hollywood movie highlights this..

The central theme in the book focuses on one professional baseball organisation's unusual level of success despite its limited financial resources. It highlights the advantage to be gained by thinking creatively when evaluating talent and incorporating innovative thought-processes into budgetary decisions. 

In the early 2000s, Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, and his assistant, Paul DePodesta, came to the conclusion that professional baseball players were evaluated according to a system that often gave a misleading idea of their actual value to a baseball team.

By using a history of sabermetrics—the practice of using mathematical and statistical analysis to analyse the game of baseball, they were able to identify players with valuable traits that were overlooked by other general managers and talent scouts. Through this process they could assemble a team that went on to make the playoffs, and at one point win a record-setting 20 consecutive games .

This willingness to ask different questions of conventional industry wisdom has also been used in business. Whole industries  have been ‘disrupted’ when established ways of doing business were challenged. This has lead to  multi- billion dollar companies who offer more efficient solutions to customer problems..

This is the kind of thinking that has lead to the creation of Uber - a transportation and food delivery company that does not own any vehicles. And Airbnb - an online market place and hospitality service focusing on leasing or renting real estate, without the company owning any real estate.

Just because things have always been done a certain way up until now, does not mean that that is the only way things can be done. By questioning foundational principles and accepted thinking, we open ourselves up to solutions that may be better, faster, cheaper, more efficient, profitable or personally fulfilling.

So, what would happen if you asked different questions in your world?


Michael Lewis 

Money Ball : The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Blog written by Jim Karagiannis