How Magical Leaders Approach Problems - Tips Part 2 - Question Assumptions


Like magicians, magical leaders continuously examine their assumptions about the way things work to invent what has not been invented. It's a challenge because the mind works to preserve deeply help beliefs, causing us to focus on information consistent with our beliefs and interpret less familiar information in ways that reinforce what we believe (confirmation bias). On top of that, most people naturally interact with those who share the same beliefs they do, so the odds of questioning assumptions go down.


Here are just a few strategies to "get out of your own way" when it comes to seeking and interpreting new and different information.

  • Ask, "What do I believe?" "Is what I believe still true?" "Will it always be true?" "What if it weren't true?"

  • Then try on the opposite belief. What does it feel like? Look like? What new conclusions do you draw? What new arenas do you need to explore? What questions are you now asking? What questions should you ask that you ordinarily wouldn't ask?

  • Invite disagreement, asking others to clearly articulate their reasoning, so you get a picture of their thinking processes. Ask others how they are arriving at their conclusions.

  • Then, reflect on what learning is now available to you. How does that learning shape your thinking?

  • Identify experiments you can run to test new theories. Purposefully seek a different approach to a challenge and check the results. Were you hypotheses correct? Even partially? What did you learn and how does that change your next approach?

  • Ask, "what am I missing here?" or "where are the errors in my thinking?"

  • Be willing to be questioned and to be wrong in service to a higher objective or purpose. Sometimes it is easier to "be wrong" when you know there is a shared purpose at stake.


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