29. January 2021

Are you a rethinker – or want to become one?

To reimagine a future is the most absent capacity in management. At least according to the observations of innovation experts in Harvard Business Review. It demands that one’s attitude be, to a certain extent, «uncertain», to embody cognitive humility and the willingness to question one’s own opinions and skills. Not necessarily what we associate with a typical manager profile.

If you want to assess your approach to rethinking, Adam Grant, a Wharton Psychology Professor and bestselling author, created a fun quiz. In this rather playful self-assessment, you can learn about the different general mental modes we apply when coping with the unknown: do we act as preachers, prosecutors, politicians or rather scientists?

The way we think about the future will shape what future we will experience. That is what neuroscience has proven under the notion of «law of attraction».Put in other words: we will not experience something new as long as we think in the same way always. Accordingly, to rethink the future is related to the ability and willingness to question regularly one’s own assumptions. The bestselling author Daniel Pink suggests in his 2-minute video how to best question your assumptions on a regular basis with these four questions: 1) Do I think more like a soldier or a scout? 2) Would I rather be right or do I want to understand? 3) Do I solicit and seek out opposing views? 4) Do I enjoy the pleasant surprise that I am mistaken?

Overall, one thing became clear to me: Rethinking in organizations happens when a culture of «wanting to be right» shifts to a culture of «wanting to understand». Not surprisingly, this is the best seedbed for co-creation.

Dr. Eva Bilhuber
Dr. Eva Bilhuber
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