Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Following along a similar line to the previous post on reflection and the reader comment made me think of the book by Peter Block, The Answer to How is Yes.In it, Block writes that we tend to ask ourselves the wrong questions. These questions take the form of "How?" questions and tend to "(express) our bias for what is practical, concrete, and immediately useful, often at the expense of our values and idealism." 
Asking what Block calls Yes questions enables an individual or organization to focus on deeper concepts like values and purpose. Again, going back to the piece on reflection and the questions in the comments, this process is not always easy, nor should it be. However, when we do not look at bigger questions and concepts, we tend to get mired in the quick and easy answer, something that can lead us further from that which is important and worthwhile. 
For instance, one of the questions often asked is "How much does it cost?" Instead, Block suggests we ask ourselves, "What price are we willing to pay?" This price is not necessarily monetary. A bigger price can sometimes be paid when we take a risk and fail. The conversation though may lead to commitment to a path that leads to bigger things. As organizations and individuals, we must be willing to ask ourselves difficult questions and be prepared for the work that ensues as we look for answers that lead toward growth. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Updating and Reflecting

A couple of weeks ago an account rep from a copier company came in and mentioned that he had read the post on "uncomfortable conversations." He said it pertained to him greatly, because as a someone in sales, the more uncomfortable conversations he might be able to have, the better he could serve his customers and create sales.

I didn't think much about it until later in the day, when a comment on the same post appeared that asked the question, "How many (uncomfortable conversations) have you avoided at the expense of growth or truth?"  The question caused me to reflect for quite some time. In fact, I am still asking myself that question and searching not only to answer that question, but to find an answer to the question of "Why?"  

Another thought that has occurred to me is that these conversations are not necessarily between two persons. The conversations we have with ourselves present some of the biggest obstacles to success. How often do we sit back and reflect on our own thinking and the discussions that occur internally? How does our own mind cloud our thinking, producing negative results? 

I am reminded of a Buddhist proverb that states, "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  If we open our mind to allowing learning to come to us, all sorts of opportunities come our way.