55 Minutes!

The Fresh Air Learning Company develops leaders, teams and organisations. We dare them to dream, to lead, to do. We bring their leadership journey to life. Bold, challenging, and sometimes uncomfortable!

Question 1: “I have this problem. How quickly can you fix it?”

Do you know clients who are very clear about their problems, confidently specify the solution, and just want you to execute the fix as soon as possible?

Maybe they don’t know the solution, yet are pretty clear about the problem.

Maybe you are this confident client. What is the source of your knowing?

If these situations are familiar to you, how do they usually turn out? How enduring and transformative are the outcomes? Do your actions apply a plaster or create something new?

Question 2: “We are noticing a bunch of stuff going on. Help us make sense of this. What are the game changing possibilities that lie beyond these issues?”

This is a totally different kind of question! Competent leaders ask these types of questions. They know there is stuff they don’t know. They know about “55 minutes.”

“If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” Albert Einstein

These questions require more than an off-the-shelf hole-plugging response. They require more than a project management “scoping discussion”. They require much more than self-limiting, convergent thinking.

Clients who ask this sort of question appreciate the need to invest in exploration and discovery; a process which engages an array of people; which collects a range of “facts”; which pays attention to stories and conversations; which in itself may trigger new questions.”

Courage and curiosity are required; and discomfort can be expected. And this just gets the client to a starting place, a place of sense-making and discovery!

More about journeys and possibilities next time.

Dave Stewart
The Fresh Air Learning Company