Developing your open-mindedness
There is nothing natural about questioning our own choices. And yet, in a world in which the rules change quickly, it is more necessary than ever. How can we give ourselves the means to quickly reconsider our judgments?
Even when they invite their teams to be more agile, in practice, organizations encourage a form of conservatism. They are in many ways right to do so: it is often far more efficient to follow well-established processes, without needing to ask any questions or test various approaches before acting. This fuels a certain conception of professionalism, marked by rigor, consistency of choices, respect for rules and commitments.
The power of this vision of efficiency is such that we tend to only question our way of doing things when we are confronted with major difficulties. NASA provides an emblematic example of this. Its conception of excellence led teams to want to respect launch deadlines at all costs—which had the perverse effect of inciting them to minimize any observed anomalies, which if taken into account would have risked disrupting their timelines. The consequences were dramatic: the mid-air explosion of the Challenger shuttle in 1986, the disintegration of Columbia in 2003… Drawing the lessons of these catastrophes, NASA opted to nurture a culture of learning and questioning. It encouraged its teams to keep an open mind about ways of doing things that might deviate from the norm. It asked them to document anything unusual and to seriously analyze its causes. Every procedure, every action, every decision taken must now be able to be substantiated, rather than merely considering it as the accepted practice.
It would be unrealistic to give up on leaning on proven practices: no one can afford to constantly reinvent everything. However, there is everything to be gained from cultivating the capacity to identify the moments when it makes sense to take a step back from a habit or belief, as well as the ability to admit that we need to change. This helps, of course, to adapt to an evolving environment, but it also feeds a more creative and stimulating collective dynamic, by encouraging the consideration of everyone’s point of view.
How can we strengthen this kind of mental flexibility?
In this synopsis:
– Four preconceptions that limit our ability to question ourselves
– Fighting the tendency to freeze our beliefs
– Leading an interlocutor to reconsider their opinion
the synopse (8 p.)
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this synopsis (8 p.)
Get back into the habit of asking questions
Business leaders are rarely represented as people who question themselves. Yet, managers should be equally able to question as they are to affirm; but it seems this capability has somewhat been lost. How to get it back?
We all have a natural preference for what is familiar to us. Yet, to adapt to circumstances, companies and their staff must constantly reinvent themselves, which requires that they get out of their usual thinking patterns. How can you nurture this healthy habit?
Think AgainAdam Grant
Making debate more producive by taking on the stance of a scientist, characterized by curiosity and experimentation.
The Scout MindsetJulia Galef
Fight against the biases that hinder our reasoning or our understanfing of reality.
The Business Case for CuriosityFrancesca Gino
A plea reminding us of curiosity’s numerous benefits to companies and indicating pathways to removing the obstacles and misconceptions that can hinder it.
A New Way to Become More Open-MindedShane Snow
A self-positioning test to evaluate your degree of open-mindedness and your capacity for self-questioning, complete with recommendations to strengthen them.
SurveyMonkey’s CEO on Creating a Culture of CuriosityZander Lurie
How can you encourage your team members to show greater curiosity in their daily lives? A case study based on the example of online survey company SurveyMonkey.