Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2021

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

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Page 32 of 35 31 processing speed and perform better. Turn asking questions into ongoing practice. A culture of curiosity also leverages the power of quiet people; introverts feel more comfortable asking questions than sharing their ideas out loud. 4 Coach people to ask better questions. Our brain likes to ask lazy questions. We substitute questions with easier ones to save energy and time. As Nobel laureate and psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains, "When faced with a difficult question, we often answer an easier one instead, usually without noticing the substitution." Don't focus on the positive. People are less likely to lie when questioners make pessimistic assumptions versus optimistic ones, as different studies show. Also avoid closed questions, which force people to select between existing options. Suboptimal questions make us settle for lazy answers. Sometimes the best solution is to unanswer the question. Encourage your team to challenge the questions — don't settle for lazy problems. 5 Use questions to encourage transparency. Every individual in your organization is a sensor. The increasing complexity and speed of business requires paying attention to every signal. When a problem makes it to the top, it might be too late to fix it. A culture that encourages people to ask questions increases communication, collaboration and transparency. It facilitates identifying and addressing tensions before they escalate and create more harm. Transparency removes the drama behind questions. Rather than being defensive, people enjoy the challenge. It creates an open-dialogue culture where people provide feedback via "What if?" rather than "You should …" Creating a culture of curiosity takes time. For some people, questioning is a natural skill; for most, it needs to be nurtured. Most people are wired to impress others with their smarts rather than to challenge reality, and they need to become comfortable with navigating uncertainty. The power of questions can unlock value in organizations. It turns blind spots into bright spots, it fuels innovation and continuous improvement, it creates a culture of transparency and collaboration, and it focuses our effort on solving the right problem and builds trust. Leading with questions is a beautiful and effective habit. into trouble — what individuals or teams don't know causes the majority of corporate failures. Many organizations don't encourage people to ask questions — challenging your boss or the status quo is seen as disrespectful. However, not acting upon the issues can cause more harm than putting someone's prestige at risk. Start by challenging your own assumptions. Embracing vulnerability rather than certainty is anything but weakness — it's clear proof of your commitment to continuous improvement. 2 Reframe the real problem. We all jump way too fast into finding solutions. However, sometimes our creative juices can harm us. The rush to show how smart we are moves us into answering the wrong question. Airbnb's $10 billion valuation all started with a beautiful question, as Berger explains in his book. Beautiful questions are not just about you; they help you realize other people's problems. Brainstorming questions, not ideas, forces us to focus on better understanding the problem, rather than jumping into the solutions. Why does the problem exist? What does it say about our company? Is there a more significant problem behind it that we're missing? Solving the right challenge starts by challenging the problem itself. 3 Create a culture of curiosity. Curiosity is the mother of innovation. Unleashing your team's creativity doesn't require complicated questions. Sometimes, simpler questions can find solutions behind the status quo. Curiosity is about challenging our daily reality. What others accept as 'normal,' you turn into a question. For instance, why do we want kids to sit still in class? A report from the Institute of Medicine concluded that active children show greater attention, have faster cognitive Gustavo Razzetti is the CEO of Liberationist, a change leadership consultancy that helps organizations become more innovative. He is also a keynote speaker and the author of Stretch for Change and Stretch Your Mind. For more information, visit

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