Thought Starters

QOTW 2013: Week 6: If you have all the answers you don’t know the question.

Is it not exhausting always being the person who has to have all the answers?

If you are in a leadership position having the answer has always been the baseline expectation, right? It seems like the go-to position. I read something recently suggesting that great leaders know the right questions to ask. Does that mean they don’t have the answers? Maybe. The message I get when someone takes that approach is that they are willing to help their colleague figure out the answer.

What it also tells me is that the person is not afraid to admit they don’t know something.

Is that ok?

I had dinner with a friend recently who I haven’t seen in ages. It had been six months or so and even longer since we sat down to chat together. My friend is someone I have had in my life since my childhood and even though we don’t see each other very often we certainly know each other very well.

We were chatting about how his two boys have grown into very inquisitive teenagers but still haven’t lost the notion that their dad is the all knowing being. We don’t have children but I am sure if you do that you can relate to dad being that guy who has all the answers, right?

My friend is also a leadership professional. Maybe not so much so but he does run a company, has employees and is in a position where people rely on him daily.

The funny thing is how he approaches his boys’ questions these days.

He normally says he doesn’t know.

We were laughing about how he now tells them to Google the answers, bring him 3 or 4 sources to corroborate the answer and then spends a bit of time chatting about the ideas with them. Hilarious! He told me that he has learned so much more about his kids doing this than he ever would have giving them the answers and on top of that has learned about things he may have never considered himself.

Is that ok?

That brings us to today’s quote.

Douglas (Noel) Adams, one of my favourite writers of all time said it beautifully. One too many pan galactic gargle blaster’s or not the man spoke with eloquence and wit. Take it away Mr. Adams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If that doesn’t brighten your day then maybe this will.

When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity.

To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300° C.

The Russians use a pencil.

Have a great Monday and an awesome week.

If you want to read last week’s quote simply click here.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (199 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday: www.designdialog.ca


11 comments
ElmerPHall
ElmerPHall

Chess makes the child learn how to strategist aspects of the game and life. In addition, a child can also learn the importance of foresight, and planning.

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

LOVED this one, Ralph! 

I'm also a big Douglas Adams fan, though my favorite quote is, "I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by."

;) 

 

When I first started out in my own business, I was that person who thought she had to have all the answers all the time. It stressed me out no end. There's no way one person can have ALL the answers. Unless, of course, you just go with the Big Question of life, the universe, and everything ... in which case the answer is always 42. ;) 

 

It was such a huge relief to me to switch my  approach up from being "girl with answers" to "collaborator with ideas." 

I also reduced my anxiety ten fold by owning the fact that I didn't have to be an expert (or even competent, quite honestly) in EVERYthing, but only be ready to tackle those things that a) interest me and b) I have the skills to tackle. Just because I'm in "marketing" doesn't mean I have to know all about Google Analytics or how to navigate the ins and outs of Aweber. Both are excellent tools, but that's not my area of expertise. I play in the land of branding, content ideation and creation, and crafting rave-worthy customer experiences. I respect and value measurement and data, but that ain't where I live. 

 

So - no need to have all the answers, but ALWAYS a big need to ask Good Questions. 

 

And ... when all else fails ... there's always "42." 

:)

 

AlaskaChickBlog
AlaskaChickBlog

This is my all time, Ralph Post Favorite. Hands down! Wonderful! And I too (with my own 14 year old son) have learned so much more by responding with "Google it" rather than an off the cuff answer. The information and knowledge we have access to with the internet is no less than a miracle, I think.

Thank you, Ralph, this was wonderful!

Lori
Lori

The Russians used a pencil! Ohmy! Too funny (and I saw it coming :o )

I love the Adams quote too.Yep - you brightened my day

!Lori

Latest blog post: Where is Your Solid Ground?

Jen Olney
Jen Olney

I'm more impressed with those who admit they do not have the answer than those who just pull the answer out of thin air. Great post, Ralph

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Ha @suddenlyjamie I forgot all about 42. Hilarious! You make an awesome point. Asking good questions is the key isn't it? It's really great to find other Hitchhiker fans. Cheers! And so good to hear from you. I really need to pay you a visit. :-)

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hi @AlaskaChickBlog so glad to hear that. Well, I do hope you have an awesome week. Google it! Love that. Cheers.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

@Lori Hey there. I am glad I could put a smile on your face. It is very cathartic to start the week with some funny stuff. It somehow puts me in the right frame of mind. Why not share that huh? Chess and have a great week.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

Hey  @Jen Olney  nice to have you around this old haunt. Appreciate the comment and I agree. A bit tongue-i-cheek or a bit cheeky, whatever. You will find I poke an prod that way in my writing.

 

BTW, I am glad you included me in the #bealeader tribe and in the G+ Community. I am happy to participate and hopefully I can add some value. Cheers!

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

 @rdopping  There is more geek in my veins than I sometimes like to admit. ;) Always nice to hang out here at your  online "house." Mine has been neglected lately due to client deadlines, but I'm hoping to give it some love for a Thursday post. (fingers crossed!)