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An Abundance of Right Answers – Finding Yours

Happy Dandelion Earth Day
Creative Commons License photo credit: zenera
What are your questions – and how many right answers (and interesting futures) can you discover?

Recently, Freddie, one of our blog members, shared a very pragmatic resilience strategy:

I agree entirely that we learn more by failing, falling down and picking ourselves back up. Doing everything correctly the first time makes it so that we only know how to do what we were attempting that one way. We never even consider doing it any other way since we never had to contemplate it. One of my managers when I first started my career told me, “there is a wrong way and there are fifty right ways. Your job here is to improvise, adapt, overcome and get it done one of the right ways.” That told me that I am not expected to do it “perfectly” but to use my own experiences, knowledge and skills to find a way to make whatever needs to happen, happen. That mantra “improvise, adapt and overcome” has empowered me over and over to find a way to do it, find something that will work or make this situation/day/week come out mostly positive. With that idea in my head it is easier to actually find a solution.

50 Right Ways – Brilliant!

Actually, that’s beyond BRILLIANT!  Freddie was blessed with a smart manager and s/he was a smarter employee for listening and learning!  Together they were building, one task at a time, a flexible, adaptable work team. And that process, over time, builds organizational resilience – a workforce that can, in Freddie’s words, “find a way to make whatever needs to happen, happen.

And here’s another smart cookie – my grandson was telling me that his computer teacher warned them that she secretly fiddles with the class computers so that when they come into class, they can’t just sit down and start work.  Instead, they have to experiment to figure out how to “fix” whatever is misbehaving on their computer.

It’s a SMART manager, oops, make that teacher, who knows how to engage minds and build in the habit of expecting “problems” and responding to those problems with solutions!!!  Her students are developing their resilience muscle and will be much stronger in the face of the inevitable annoying “adversities” that computers seem to generate! (I wish I’d had a computer teacher teach me troubleshooting skills like that – I tend to sink right into helplessness in the face of technical adversity.  I wonder if there’s hope for this old technophobe?)

And I’ll bet she’s found a way to structure the classroom learning so that her students not only learn to troubleshoot, they observe and learn from each other’s failures as well as solutions.  That’s something corporations call “vicarious learning” – an informal learning strategy that makes employees more adaptive in times of fast change and ultimately builds the company’s capacity to resiliently respond to challenges.

Abundance – So Much More Than Scarcity!

Dewitt Jones, former National Geographic photographer declares:

As I work from the belief that there’s more than one right answer, I find I’m approaching the world from an attitude of abundance rather than scarcity, from cooperation rather than competition. When I walk into the forest with my cameras, nature doesn’t say, “There is one great photograph hidden here. One photographer will find it and be the winner. The rest will fail!” No, what nature seems to be saying is, “How many rolls of film do you have, Dewitt? I’ll fill them all with right answers!”

Better still, we now live in the digital age – so we can fill our memory chips with oh so many right answers.  Of course, vicarious learning happens when we team up to select just the right few photos that tell the story of the day, recognizing that context plays a role in what works and what doesn’t each time.  Each of us gets to select our own right answers.

Food for Thought, I Hope

I think I’ll leave you with this challenge from Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst:

I have a challenge for you. Look at your future. Look at your career. Look at your life. Where are you locking yourself into “one right answer?””Question your assumptions. What are some other “right answers?” Who knows? It might just be the right answer after the right answer that came just after the right answer that is precisely the answer you’re looking for.

What are your questions – and how many right answers (and interesting futures) can you discover?

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Cup o’ Inspiration

cup with steam swirl

Take a short break and consider the following:

“Life is ambiguous; there are many right answers – all depending on what you are looking for. But if you think there is only one right answer, then you’ll stop looking as soon as you find one.”

Roger von Oech

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