Compelling Questions Can Lead Us into the Future

I admit it. I’ve gone dark on blogging. You’ve not heard from me for a while. And here is why….there is a book in the works. Book #2 and one that I hope helps leaders and professionals within organizations understand the forces that are shaping the workplace and how work is likely to change in the future. In the book, I am tackling these questions:

  • How are organizations and work changing?
  • How does that impact the way we lead?
  • What does it mean for professionals?

Recovery and Reflection

Yesterday I submitted the first three chapters and today I’m basking in the relief that comes with completing a long stretch of focused work. The first chapters are, for me, the most difficult. They provide the shape and tone and pace of the book. Just as I experience in consulting, how it starts is how it goes. And with those first three chapters come many decisions. What am I trying to convey? How do I best do that? How do I create a compelling introduction that pulls readers into the message? What style suits this book best? Who am I writing to? What do they need?

And so just like running endurance races, I see today as a day of recovery. Not for my physical self but for my mental and creative self. A time to put the book aside. A time to let go of the disciplined “time on task” that I find is required to get a big writing project out the door. A time to breathe and reflect.

My reflection keeps circling around the trickiness of finding good answers to the questions you face. For in this book, I’ve deviated from my typical methods to find answers that work for me and my clients. Normally I would read the top thought leaders, comparing and contrasting their thoughts with my experience. After a deep dive into lots of content, I will then synthesize a towering stack of books and articles into something pithier, more practical, and more accessible for my clients and readers.

For this book, I’m using a combination of interviews and web research. It is a book about the future of work, and consequently I don’t have experience to draw from.

The Questions asked…

I deeply realize how the questions I ask and the search words I use dramatically impact the information I draw from. And those questions shape the responses I get and the responses I get shape the conclusions I draw. And if I am successful and create a book that people read and internalize, those readers are impacted by that long chain of events that had there beginning in a few simple questions:

  • What forces are shaping the work we do?
  • What will work be like in the future?
  • What does that mean for leaders?
  • What does this mean for professionals?

I realize too, that the answers I get to the questions I ask are filtered by my core beliefs. For I do believe that, as humans, we will adapt. I believe that, if we are intentional and thoughtful, the future can be better than the present or the past. I believe that if we are unwilling to change and adapt, the consequences on any level, will be dire.

And so, while the writing of this book has taken me deeper into understanding how organizations are evolving, how leadership is shifting and how professionals will be impacted, this outward and forward work has also taken more deeply inward and backward. It has prompted me to examine and test my core beliefs. It has reinforced, even more profoundly, that the questions we ask shape the answers we get. And it has driven home the truism that what you focus on is what manifests itself in your life.

So much, in fact, that I am ending each chapter with questions. Questions readers can ponder. Questions that readers can struggle with. Questions that can help point the way for us. For I believe that questions may be much more important than answers in the future.

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