Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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30 FEATURE Leaders who encourage asking questions rather than doling out answers will create a culture of curiosity and innovation, writes Gustavo Razzetti LEADERS ARE expected to be perfect, though they shouldn't be. That's why, in many organizations, being right equals having authority — certainty is rewarded, and questions are not allowed. The lack of a challenging mentality is an expensive mistake to make: companies end up solving the wrong problem. That's why leadership models need to shift from owning knowledge to promoting a culture of curiosity. Managers are not meant to solve everyone's problems — people have the ability and responsibility to find their own solutions. Encourage people to ask questions. Hold back your impulses; resist the temptation for (any) quick answer. Leading with questions is an invitation for everyone to think. The beauty of the question How people deal with questions says a lot about their organizational culture. In helping teams become more innovative, what I frequently observe is that the companies that resist change the most tend to ask very few questions. A more autonomous workplace is challenging power-driven executives, who fear their expertise and authority could lose relevance. That's why they don't encourage How to lead with questions Embracing vulnerability rather than certainty is anything but weakness — it's clear proof of your commitment to continuous improvement. dissent — they protect their positions by owning the answers. However, providing wisdom is a more effective way of staying relevant. That's the power of questions. Wise leaders don't pretend to know it all. They are comfortable challenging their own assumptions. Wisdom, like leadership, is not defined by a title. We all want answers. However, wise people encourage us to find solutions on our own terms. They coach us to ask better questions, as the beauty of problem-solving lies in the journey. Wise leaders challenge people to look beyond lazy solutions. Easy access to information promotes short-term curiosity — 95% of people don't check past the first page of Google results. Most individuals seek easy answers, not true knowledge. Beautiful questions move us from our comfort zone to the discovery zone. Warren Berger, the author of A Beautiful Question, coined that term to refer to a catalyst that can uncover change and possibilities. A beautiful question, according to Berger, is an ambitious yet actionable question that shifts the way we perceive or think about something. Berger focuses on questions that can be acted upon. That's where the beauty lies — it's not about creating a philosophical debate, but rather provoking deep thinking to uncover practical solutions. Leaders must help their teams rediscover the beauty within questions, as quick short-term fixes are anything but beautiful. How to lead with questions 1 Challenge existing assumptions. Perfectionism is the enemy of change; it's impossible to improve something when we believe there's nothing wrong. Blind spots get us

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