What if . . . ?

What if . . . ? 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

My two year old son is a curious little dude.  My wife frequently points out that he is always looking things over to see how they work.  Apparently, he’s a chip off the old block as the other day, as we watched him trying to figure out how the door on the play house worked, she said “he’s just like you.”  

One of the ways I find useful when trying to understand how something works, why it works, or if it matters is to use “what if” scenarios.  Sometimes, these what if’s are simply an intellectual exercise to challenge your thinking about boundaries and possibilities.  Other times, they are hypotheses you can test to see if what you are doing is working or if a new idea might work.
“What if” is a tremendous tool for innovation and inspiration.  It can lead you to new ideas and break you free from old dogma.  Challenge yourself this week to ask at least one “what if” question each day.  You will be thankful that you did.  
Here’s a list of some what if questions to get your thinking primed:
  • What if we did away with all recurring meetings and only allowed meetings when at least half of the people invited voted that it was a necessary meeting?
  • What if there were no chairs in our conference rooms?  (Would meetings get faster?)
  • What if the for job of “management” didn’t exist?  How would we direct work without it?
  • What if we stopped doing performance appraisals?
  • What if I stopped sending out this report or newsletter?  Would anyone notice?
  • What if we taught classes at work about how to be happy?
  • What if we didn’t have job descriptions?
  • What if I say what’s on my mind instead of holding back?
  • What if we had stand up desks?  Would we be in better shape or work faster?
  • What if we did away with fixed schedules and allowed people to work whenever they chose?
  • What if leaders could learn to be open and show vulnerability?
  • What if our company threw open the doors to social media?
  • What if our human resources professionals were trained in sales skills?
  • What if we required every employee to volunteer in their community a couple hours a month?
  • What if we all had fix-term and binding employment contracts? 
  • What if an office space had no walls, offices or cubes, just desks and chairs on wheels?
This list could go on all day.  And none of these questions are designed to evoke a specific answer, more so to simply tap a curiosity that might lead to an insight or an opportunity to try something new.  
What if this blog post prompts you to ask the question that helps you breakthrough?   
Questions are powerful.  The right questions can change the world.  
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