When the penny starts to drop…
In his brilliant lead article in BusinessWeek last week (being a Brit, I read the magazine a week late), Mark Hertsgaard points out a revolutionary statement by Barack Obama when he was questioned about fossil fuel reserves by Thomas Friedman:
“We’re not going to be able to burn it all.”
What is fascinating about this is that Obama breaks through the standard mainstream politician’s fudge on the dichotomy of “we must cut carbon/we must exploit our resources.” Realising that the two are incompatible, Obama nailed the reality that so many simply gloss over.
An interesting progress test for your organisation is whether people in significant positions start to come to such conclusions. Like Friedman with Obama, you can test people gently by asking killer questions to get to the nub of the issue.
Of course, as Heisenberg would point out, if you measure it, you change it – usually for the good as people have to think through their answer. It is possible to have two conflicting opinions in your head and not go mad if you don’t challenge them – and that’s what a question does, forces you to resolve the issue.
Questions are a key Green Jujitsu technique – use them wisely.