Matrix Management

Are there some questions that we just don’t need to ask?

A dilemma posed by Kevan Hall, CEO of Global Integration

I watched a presentation last week about the billions of questions around the world that are now asked of Google.  It asked the question “Who did we ask ‘BG’ – Before Google?”

It’s an interesting question.  Has the availability of fast answers to our questions changed the questions we ask?  Has it given us a different way of thinking and different expectations of getting an answer?

It reminded me of a discussion we had years ago in a strategy session.  Our R&D director asked a very complex series of questions as a follow-up to a proposal that he clearly didn’t particularly like.  The professor who was facilitating the discussion asked him a great question – “What would you do differently if you knew the answer to that question?”  When the R&D director was unable really to answer this, he said “Well let’s not bother asking it.”

Are there questions nowadays that we shouldn’t bother asking?  Do we have access to too much information?

It is well established that if we have too much information and choice, we may be unable to make a reasonable decision at all.  In the future, do we need the capability to ask and answer more questions, or does that need to be balanced with the ability to disconnect, to focus and to ignore unnecessary distractions and data, so we can actually get our work done?

Readers may also be interested in the Global Integration podcast, A Lack of Communication, You Must be Joking!

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