Asking Better Questions

Neil Morrison wrote a piece this week about strange things recruiters say, which talks about stuff like big hitters, industry experience and hitting targets among other things. The post got me thinking, less about the demands people put forward, and more about the questions people ask.

How intelligent are you?

I’ve got ten A star GCSEs, five A levels, a degree, an MBA. Actually I don’t have this wonderful list of qualifications, but that’s a typical answer to the question, ‘How intelligent are you?’

When you think about a response to that question, it almost certainly has its roots in a fairly traditional set of skills. Skills like maths, literacy, and science, or if you’re really old school, how about the three Rs – Reading wRiting and aRithmetic. They’ve all got their place, and yet in a world of work that increasingly craves creativity, a set of skills like this is not the only way to think about intelligence.

How are you intelligent?

In his book, The Element, Ken Robinson suggests the question ‘How are you intelligent?’ might be a better question to ask. Small twist, big difference. When you think about a response to that question, I hope you feel invited to pause and think beyond the three Rs. Think about how you draw, write, paint, play, invent, cycle, dance, see and hear. Simply because someone is less good at, say maths, and better at drawing, this doesn’t make them less intelligent, just differently intelligent.

Our current fixation on that which can be more easily tested for is limiting our opportunities to identify and work with the best people. So, not only do we need to think differently about the things we say, we need to think differently about the questions we ask. We need to think differently about intelligence.

Creative Leadership – T Minus 24

I was going to head this post ‘Creative Leadership – The Final Countdown’ but I was worried that might leave a certain long haired rock band impression in your mind, and that wouldn’t do, would it?

Exploring pathways to creativity and collaboration with clients is a key part of why I love what I do. This exploration is woven into many of the projects I’ve been privileged to engage with over the last few years. In recent months I’ve been contemplating pulling some of these threads together to make a stronger rope, and as part of my New Year Evolution – in January I committed to the launch of Creative Leadership.

February 28th 2013 is go live day. I am very excited and of course, a little nervous. How will it go? Will people notice? Will people like the idea enough to book onto a workshop and come and play? Who knows. What I do know is, if I don’t make this commitment to creativity and collaboration, then I may as well pack up and go home. As an idea in my head, it is next to useless. As of tomorrow, it is real. Back in 2011, Ken Robinson, author of ‘Out of Our Minds’, said, “Creativity is not some exotic, optional extra. It’s a strategic issue.” I think he is right, how about you?