In IT delivery, we all bring a rich history to the table. Our past experiences help us see similarities in situations and identify patterns in data. And with machine learning blazing a trail to the future, identifying data patterns is becoming increasingly more important and more powerful in its application.
But we humans run the risk of having tunnel vision – only seeing what is right in front of us, and thereby missing the broader view. Which is why diversity of thought is more important than ever. Because new perspectives help us see things in a new light. In the words of Wayne W. Dyer, Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. There couldn’t be a better mantra for IT teams striving to hone their competitive edge.
Diversity of thought starts with great questions
Much has been said recently about Millennials bringing a fresh perspective to business. In an exploration of what the new guard has to offer, Dan Negroni encouraged Millennials to ask better questions as a way of building stronger internal relationships: “Ask great questions that are not self-serving. Ask great questions that are smart and interesting, probing and challenging, that serve your audience and not you.”
This is actually great advice for everyone in every situation. If we all seek to understand and serve others through our interactions, we can get more from our conversations and build more meaningful relationships. By fostering open and honest communication that incorporates multiple points of view, diversity of thought will become part of the fabric of everything we do.
Remember, even when we’re all looking at the same data, we interpret the information differently based on our own experience and worldview. This is why it’s so important to continually test our own understanding by asking questions.
Next time you’re having an important conversation with your team about the direction your business is heading, try to listen more than usual. Try talking only to ask questions. It can feel strange if you’re used to leading the conversation or feel strongly about voicing an opinion. But challenge yourself to influence the conversation through query alone. Take stock of the different viewpoints that arise, even if you don’t agree. Encourage everyone to contribute.
It may take a few tries but shifting your team’s communication style from one dominated by a few strong opinions to one where all views and thoughtful questions are welcome is transformational. When strategy is informed by a multitude of perspectives, you’ll find it’s a scenario where everyone wins. Delivery teams become happier and more engaged, customers benefit from higher quality products, and our businesses benefit from both of those.
How cShell can help
With years of executive leadership experience, our skilled facilitators are ready to support your team’s next working session. Let us guide your team through the exploration of a key problem you’re facing, whether kicking off a new change initiative, or troubleshooting a particular departmental challenge. We will use our proven workshop methodology to facilitate a well-rounded discussion that builds on your team’s strengths and nurtures thought partnership.
We will model how to ask clarifying questions that generate diverse perspectives and prevent groupthink, and we’ll provide tools for accelerating your problem-solving process – with better outcomes. By including a cShell facilitator in your next team session, you will gain valuable insight into your team’s communication style and behaviours, including a tangible observation report with suggestions for enhancing your future collaborative sessions.