The Answer to How? Is Yes

April 27th, 2009   •   no comments   
Writer and Premier Consultant Block
Offers Sage Advice for Tough Times:
Say Yes, Don’t Ask How?

Peter Block, the noted author of Flawless Consulting, published one of his most challenging books The Answer to How? Is Yes more than seven years ago. I think his advice is even more important now.  What’s the central premise?

First, we’re too quick to ask “How?”  We should be spending way more energy asking “Why?”  In the approach to answering that question (Why?) is the cradle of purpose, the motivation — the original propellant for whatever we were intending to do.

How? questions short-circuit the creative process, shut down imaginative thinking.  How? immediately takes us to trying to figure out the mechanism, how to build the engine rather than asking why we’d want to build the vehicle in the first place.

He outlines some of the “wrong” questions:

  1. How do you do it?
  2. How long will it take?
  3. How much does it cost?
  4. How do you get those people to change?
  5. How do we measure it?
  6. How have other people done it successfully?

Asking Why? can help to “re-discover” the original purpose which we, all too easily, forget. 

“The alternative to asking How? is Yes – not literally, but as a symbol of our stance towards the possibility of more meaningful change.”

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