"They are asking all the wrong questions. And if I say it to anybody, I'm-I'm ostracized. I'm-I'm-I'm a leper."
Peter Brand - Moneyball
There is a special kind of question.
It wins you no friends. In fact, many enemies.
What is it?
Any question that challenges conventional wisdom.
- What if the earth isn't flat?
- How could we move to a 4-day work week?
- Why do I need to work in the office?
When you ask challenging questions, people respond with disgust:
- What are you on about?
- That will never work around here
- We need answers, not questions.
There are some leaders who respond differently.
Seeing these questions as the path to progress.
They find breakthroughs.
This weekend I watched Moneyball.
It demonstrates the power of questions.
Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A's, asks questions to challenge convention.
Faced with a tight budget, Beane must reinvent his team by outsmarting the richer ball clubs. Joining forces with Ivy League graduate Peter Brand, Beane prepares to challenge old-school traditions. He recruits bargain-bin players whom the scouts have labelled as flawed, but have game-winning potential.
They win games. They set records. They find a breakthrough. They build a legacy.
Leaders have two responsibilities:
- Ask questions that challenge conventional wisdom.
- Respond with curiosity, not defensiveness, when someone asks them of you.
What conventions can you challenge?