“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Some people don’t like to ask challenging questions because they know the answers might make them uncomfortable. They’d rather live with the illusion that everything is great than open the possibility that things might not be as rosy as they seem on the surface. However, as you know, this is the real (difficult) work of a creative pro.
A valuable question to ask a peer or collaborator (or someone on your team, if you lead one) is “What’s something you don’t think I see, but should know?”
Sometimes other team members see potential problems well before you do. They know that there’s a conflict brewing between other team members, that someone is struggling with a project (maybe even them!), or that there’s an opportunity that you are not taking advantage of. By asking this question, you’re giving others permission to tell you what they see, and you’re also showing them that you value their ideas and opinions.
In asking this question, you’re likely to receive responses that surprise you. You’re also likely to learn who sees things clearly, and who is simply phoning it in. If someone is consistently bringing you great insights about clients, the market, or the organization, then you might want to earmark them for development.
Again, this conversation is best had one on one, but can also work in a group format. Do what’s best for your situation.
Don’t allow the fear of what you might hear to keep you from asking questions. It’s the only way to see reality for what it is.
Question: Who might give you some much-needed perspective on your work today?