Adopting Agile: Ask questions

Some of you know I like Yogi Berra.  As a side note, here are a lot of his quotes. I hope you laugh at a few. (Laughter is a great way to influence people.)

Ok, so Yogi Berra reminded us by saying: “Some people, if they don’t already know it, you can’t explain it to them.”  Taiichi Ohno said about the same thing.  You can talk at them for a while, but pretty soon it does no more good.

So, what do you do next?

Well, the Wall Street Journal just published another column by Dan Ariely.  I like that guy.  Here’s the column, which has answers to real questions.

The second question is this:

Dear Dan,

My daughter started dating a lazy, dumb guy. How can we tell her gently that he is wrong for her without preaching to her, causing her to ignore us or go against our advice?

—Concerned Mother

Guess what he says?  He says preaching at her won’t help much.

He says: Ask her questions. (He assumes, for the sake of argument, that the mother is right.)  They need to be fairly honest, fair questions. Ariely admits this is a tad manipulative….

Nevertheless, don’t tell your daughter your opinion and instead ask her questions. Naturally, people tend not to ask themselves certain questions. But if someone else asks them, these questions get planted in their minds, and it is hard to keep from thinking about them.

This seemed brilliant to me.

He concludes:

Maybe she will reach the same conclusions you have.

To be honest, this is not as helpful as I want. (I have two daughters. One prays they will not fall in love with the wrong guy.)

But it beats the heck out of no help at all.

I could lie to you, and promise that you can force all the opponents of the change you have in mind to understand that ‘resistance is futile.’ The sad fact is that they are free to be silly and wrong and foolish.  So, over time, you have to convince them.

Perhaps you wait for that ‘teachable moment’, when the complete wrongheadedness of her position becomes apparent and unavoidable.

But do not wait too long.

Added later:  There are LOTS of other ways to influence people, as described, for example, in More Fearless Change by Manns and Rising.  Take some shots. “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” Gretzky

 

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