Questioning others is a great way to understand, seek information, make others feel important and listened to. From a leadership perspective, it can also empower others to come up with their own solutions, a bit like delegating thinking.
Why then do we often forget to question ourselves and the things we do and think?
Many a time we may get caught up on the Ferris wheel of life and almost go into autopilot doing we what we do because we’ve always done it that way before. The old adage, “If it ain't broke, why fix it” can work for a while, but in today’s world, we need to look at what’s next. We need to bring in new ways of thinking, innovating and looking towards to future to stay relevant. I really believe looking outside the square helps us stand out and be different, not better. That way, we can stay a step in front and continue to challenge the status quo.
Always question the why…don’t be satisfied with only knowing the how
There was a great story I read many years ago, about a lady who prepared a lamb roast each Sunday night for her family. Her husband used to cut the leg of lamb in half and one afternoon asked her, “Why do we cut the leg of lamb in half?” To which she responded, “I have no idea, we have always done it that way”.
Wiping her apron, she pondered her husband’s question and decided to call her Mum. “Mum, why do we always cut the lamb leg in half?” Her Mum seemed puzzled and responded with “I don't know, maybe ask your grandmother”.
Highly curious now the lady set aside the vegetables she was cutting and called her grandmother and asked the same question “Nanna, why do you, Mum and I cut our Sunday leg of lamb in half”. The grandmother replied, “Well, I’m not sure, but I’ve always cut mine in half as I had a small oven”. The lady burst out laughing as she looked at her 900mm oven. Never had she questioned why she had cut the roast in half, it had never crossed her mind, as it was just the way it was always done.
This analogy is a great way to reflect on how sometimes the simple tasks, decisions and way things are done are carried out almost in autopilot. Often we become time-poor, and I believe so many opportunities are missed for things to be even more effective.
When the stakes are high, and the pressure is on it can be difficult for leaders, especially senior ones new to their roles, to pause before acting and to take a step back and reflect on why they are doing what they are doing, and this also applies to those around them.
I think sometimes questioning our actions on the bigger things can be dwarfed by our inaction on questioning the smaller things.
I’d love to hear, where is the opportunity for you to question your “lamb roast”?
Lead to be limitless…
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