Sometimes you just have to ask again
I’m starting to suspect that my super power is my willingness to ask the same question over and over again until I get a coherent answer.
I don’t mean like a bad salesperson pestering you until your answer is “yes.” I’m talking about questions that I want an objective, actual answer to and that I think others need to to hear and agree on.
If you’re beginning to adopt the Reciprocal Development Principles (yes, that’s what this is about) then some of those questions might be:
What’s the first experiment we can use this new approach on, and when is the deadline to catch the bus?
What’s the real reason your target users don’t want to adopt the new tool you built?
What’s the potential scientific impact of that infrastructure project that seems to be three layers removed from the science?
What makes these questions hard to answer is that they often clash with your stakeholders’ assumptions, so they don’t understand what you’re really asking. Instead, they answer an adjacent question or don’t answer at all.
Shifting your team’s and your larger organization’s processes and mindsets means updating assumptions, and that requires repetition. So when you get an incoherent or unsatisfying answer to an important question, you have to figure out what assumptions you’re bumping up against and directly address them.
Then ask the question again.
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