De Bono And The Need To Address Sub-Optimality
One of the most challenging aspects of last week’s De Bono seminar was his comments on “sub-optimal” situations. Any system or institution might try to be at its best at any given point in history, given the information at hand. It may even, at certain points, manage to create fairly optimal and perhaps excellent approaches […]
One of the most challenging aspects of last week’s De Bono seminar was his comments on “sub-optimal” situations.
Any system or institution might try to be at its best at any given point in history, given the information at hand. It may even, at certain points, manage to create fairly optimal and perhaps excellent approaches to its problems.
But, over time, it is bound to become susceptible to changing conditions as new situations are faced and the existing information becomes obsolete. It may become sub-optimal without appearing to be broken.
Therein lies the critical issue – we all tend to be hesitant to challenge this that do not appear to be broken, really broken. Given the constraints of time we will often accept and live with sub-optimality; until it is too late.
To some extent this is a consequence of inertia, or laziness. However, the biggest factor is inherent resistance to criticism. “Its not that bad” is a common defensive response to criticism, in families, workplaces and even churches.
So we put up with outdated, ineffective and maybe even toxic systems.
De Bono suggests that part of the solution is to change the language we use, to get beyond argument-based approaches to conversation. The first steps of this involve breaking the connection between challenge and criticism, which many people see as one and the same thing, breeding resistance to both change and strategies designed to soften the blows of change.
Whether we adopt De Bono’s approaches or not, we need to create a language that allows people to challenge sub-optimal situations without breeding fear or defensiveness. Creativity cannot be fostered unless the scope exists to challenge existing approaches and ideas freely, without defensiveness. Unless that happens, no group of people can really take the risk of moving together to look at a problem from a different perspective.
Breaking the nexus between challenge and criticism is crucial to allowing new ideas and approaches to get some traction, to be evaluated on their own merits and if valuable enough, to be implemented.
[tags] Edward De Bono, Creative Thinking [/tags]