Summertime seems to always be a busy one for recording, Strategy Ideation sessions and conferences to attend. My time is always busy with clients and outside activities that I must be selective with which events to attend. I choose to attend events which bolster more of the creative development on idea generation and or strategy in lieu of general tactical or “How-to-Do” conferences. Many tactical or skills based events eventually are highlighted through social media, so one must pick their best use of time and funds.
It was one of these selective events that reignited some old concepts that we allow to get buried as we continuously update our knowledge base. At the event, like most, there were many speakers, workshops and keynote presenters, but all took a back seat to one individual that sparked my fascination and enforced why I do what I do.
Sitting in the back of one of the concurrent sessions was a small boy coloring with some markers. I don’t know why I was fascinated by what he was doing, maybe it was the fact that during all the information and the banter between presenter and audience I was intrigued that he ignored everyone and just focused on what he was interested in.
As the session wound down, I looked over the boy’s shoulder to see what was so captivating. It was nothing but a coloring book that he had colored with some artistic expression. He then looked up at me and smiled. It was the next few words that he spoke that brought my mind to a laser focus.
With an innocent smile he spoke, “Why are you here?” he asked. His question echoed in my head.
Why was I here I thought. I smiled back and replied, “Because I want to learn more and improve myself.”
“Why?” he replied.
“So I can be better at my job.”
“Why?” he repeated.
Playing along with this popular children’s line of questioning I replied, “To help people.”
Once more he uttered the question, “Why?”
By now most adults would simply smile and move along politely, but this simple line of questioning was making me reflect on my purpose, why I choose to do the things I do and to learn what I choose to learn. His innocent question was not so innocent for me. Did he really want to know? probably not, but it made me want to understand myself better. I finally replied, “because people sometimes need help getting what they want.”
“What do they want?” he asked.
Interested in how he would respond, I fired back a single answer. “Change.”
I expected the response of the repeating question, what I didn’t anticipate was the added response. “Why do they need change? Don’t they have enough?”
I realize he may have misunderstood my term, but somehow his reply was right on the money. “Why do they need change?” This simple question touches at the very core for a company’s growth strategy. In addition, asking about how much change do they need is as important as well. If a child can ask these types of questions then why don’t more executives ask them of themselves. I realize that it is part of why I am asked to help them, but it should also be part of how they help themselves.
If you wish to understand change and gather new ideas, starting using simple questions like ‘why’ repeatedly as your bait to uncover the core reasons. “Why not!”