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容忍笨问题才能学聪明

2014-02-14    来源:fortunechina    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

包容质疑带来的混乱,鼓励人们提出各种各样的问题,有时甚至是听起来很傻很天真的问题。如果一个组织能够培育这样的文化,它将带领组织走向智慧,从而带来巨大的优势。

I was about to get on a conference call and asked the call organizer if he had scheduled a hard stop. No, he said, but he hoped the call would be over in 45 minutes.
有一次参加电话会议之前,我问会议组织者是否安排了硬性休会的安排。他说,没有,不过他希望会议能在45分钟内结束。

The call started, and after 70 minutes I hung up knowing I could always pretend Skype had dropped the call. But no one complained. It seems I wasn't the only one frustrated.
会议开始70分钟以后,我中断了通话,因为我清楚,我可以经常假装Skype断线。对此没有人会有意见。因为,似乎并不是只有我一个人对这种会议感到失望。

It wasn't just that the call was long, or that in an hour and 10 minutes nothing noteworthy had been accomplished. Nor was I irritated because time had been wasted. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I was that conference calls rarely satisfy because we join them hoping to enjoy meaningful collaboration when, in fact, the whole set-up trains our minds toward loss-prevention and saving face. We talk because not talking will lower our status in the group. We keep talking because we worry we haven't yet proven our value. And everyone becomes so focused on sounding smart that we often don't give others the recognition we ourselves crave.
我失望的原因不仅仅是会议耗时过长,也不是因为在这70分钟的时间里没有实现任何有价值的结果。我也并不是因为时间被浪费而感到恼怒。经过仔细考虑,我更加确信,电话会议之所以很少能令人满意,原因在于,我们参会是希望能实现有意义的协作。可事实上,这种环境让我们内心更倾向于防止损失和顾全面子。我们之所以发言,是因为不发言就会降低自己在这个群体中的地位。我们之所以不停说话,是因为我们担心还没有证明自己的价值。所有人都只在乎如何让自己听起来聪明绝顶,却往往忘记了要给予其他人我们自己同样渴望的那种认可。

Experiences like these amply demonstrate the need for a "questioning culture," Warren Berger argues in his forthcoming book, A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.
沃伦•贝格尔在自己即将出版的新书《更好的问题:询问的力量》( A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas)中提到,类似这样的经历充分证明了“提问文化”的必要性。

Many workplaces, Berger writes, discourage real dialogue -- the kind you get when people feel free to challenge plans, ideas, even one another. He argues that office cultures that encourage group questioning gain an edge. Google's (GOOG) "sometimes chaotic" weekly TGIF sessions, during which all employees are invited to ask Larry Page and Sergey Brin questions, gets a nod from Berger, as does MIT's Media Lab, where engineers experiment widely and fail, fail again, and fail better on the way toward a solution.
贝格尔写道,许多公司并不鼓励真正的交流——说白了,就是不给你机会去质疑规划、创意乃至其他同事。他认为,鼓励集体提问的办公室文化能够形成巨大的优势。谷歌(Google)每周一次的TGIF讨论会有时候非常混乱,所有员工在讨论会上都可以向拉里•佩奇和谢尔盖•布林提问。贝格尔对这种做法非常赞赏。此外,麻省理工学院媒体实验室(MIT's Media Lab)的做法也获得了贝格尔的认可。这个实验室的工程师们不断地进行广泛的实验,虽然一再失败,但每一次失败都是向成功迈近了一步。

In such settings, not knowing isn't penalized. "I consistently position myself as an idiot," Paul Bennett, of the design firm IDEO, tells Berger. He believes this willingness to ask what he himself calls "incredibly naïve questions" has helped their firm thrive.
在这种环境中,不懂不会受到惩罚。设计公司IDEO的保罗•本奈特告诉贝格尔:“我一直都把自己看成一个傻瓜。”他相信,这种愿意提出“令人难以置信的天真问题”的态度却帮助他的公司实现了茁壮成长。

By incredibly naïve Bennett means those painfully elementary questions that in some audiences would get him branded a dim bulb. Called to speak to Iceland's parliament in the wake of the country's financial crisis, he asked, "Where's the money?" Not to be disrespectful, he later explained, but because first-things-first questions prompt an audience to explain things simply, and with that simplicity comes clarity.
本奈特所谓的“令人难以置信的天真问题”是指那些非常基本的问题,以致于有些人会认为他是一个迟钝的人。有一次,他受邀在冰岛议会就该国的金融危机发表演说,他问道:“钱都到哪儿去了?”后来他解释说,提这个问题并不是出于无礼,而是因为这种“首要之事优先提问”的方式可以激发听众,用简单的语言解释问题,而问题的根源也会随之变得清清楚楚。

Incredibly naïve questions "work" because they lower defenses. They also force us to put aside stock answers. This can slacken a conversation's pace -- but that's all for the good, Berger argues.
令人难以置信的天真问题之所以“有效”是因为,它们会降低听众的防卫心理。此外,它们会迫使我们放弃那些死板的答案。贝格尔认为,这种方式虽然会放缓对话的节奏——但却大有裨益。

"In most meetings -- and in most everything we do in business -- we are usually trying to keep things moving forward and just 'get things done.' This is a natural impulse, and of course it's important to get things done and stay on schedule. The problem is, this leaves little time to question assumptions, as in, Why are we doing this particular thing? Have we really thought it through, and considered other possibilities?"
“在大多数会议以及大多数商业场合,我们往往会努力推动事情的发展,只考虑‘把事情做好’。这是一种天生的冲动。把事情做好和保持进度当然很重要。可问题在于,它会让我们无暇质疑其他设想。比如:我们为什么要做这件事?我们是不是真的考虑周详了?是否考虑过其他的可能性?”

Berger recommends instituting a pause for questions that challenge the group's basic operating assumptions. (Among my questions would be, "What do we hope to accomplish in 70 minutes that could not be done in 45?")
贝格尔建议,暂停下来,给自己一个提问的机会,对团队基本的操作假设提出质疑。(我想提的一个问题是:“我们希望在70分钟的时间里实现哪些无法用45分钟实现的结果?”)

There is no ideal formula for how to engineer this pause. But over time, a group develops a tolerance for it. "And while it may seem as if this is slowing progress, what you're actually doing is making sure that your 'progress' isn't taking you down the wrong path."
这种暂停的设计没有理想的准则。但随着时间的推移,团队会培养出对这种暂停的宽容。“虽然它看起来拖累了进度,但实际上,它可以保证你们不会被事先设定的‘进度’引向错误的方向。”

Achieving such a questioning culture would be easy, I thought, if enlightened CEOs stood behind it, demonstrating by confident example that incredibly naïve questions are not necessarily a sign of weakness, stupidity, or lack of team spirit. But what about people who report to insecure middle managers who don't like the idea -- or the questions?
我认为,只要有明智的CEO鼎力支持,用确凿的实例证明,令人难以置信的天真问题并不一定代表软弱、愚蠢,也不代表缺乏团队精神,建立这种提问的文化就不会很难。但如果你的上司是一位没有安全感的中层管理者,他并不喜欢这种观点,也不喜欢人们提出的问题,又该怎么办?

Berger isn't worried.
对此,贝格尔并不担心。

"Leaders must signal to holdouts that this is now part of what's expected of them: to question and welcome questions. And also to encourage a kind of questioning that is ambitious, positive, thoughtful, and potentially actionable." (As opposed to people just asking about vacation policies.)
“领导者必须让拒不合作的人知道,公司希望他们能提出问题,同时也欢迎其他人提出的问题。此外,要鼓励人们提出有雄心的、积极的、经过深思熟虑的和具有可行性的问题。”(而不是那些关于休假政策的问题。)

This might mean rewards for beautiful questions. It also means a new collective responsibility for the outcomes of questioning sessions. "Don't punish [the asker] by saying, 'Okay, you raised this question, now it's on you [alone] to find the answer.'"
它或许意味着要对好的问题给以奖励。也意味着为了保证质疑讨论会的效果,需要确定新的集体责任。“不要惩罚(提问的人)。比如说:‘好,既然你提出了问题,现在就由你(亲自)来找出答案吧。’”

Most good questions don't have tidy answers. But only in embracing that messiness -- and sometimes rudeness or foolishness -- do we fumble our way toward brilliance.
大多数好问题不会有令人满意的答案。但只有欣然接受这种混乱,以及时不时冒出来的粗鲁或傻气,我们才能摸索出一条通向智慧的路。(财富中文网)



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