Watching recent U.S. congressional hearings into antitrust and bigtech, I’ve been struck at the paucity of critical questioning.
It’s mostly been a master class at how not to uncover the root of an issue. Repeatedly, congressional representatives asked tech CEOs questions and repeatedly, these well-trained executives provided media-trained soundbites, often full of platitudes. Instead of challenging these answers, most congressional reps moved straight onto another question, letting CEO titan off the hook with no follow-up enquiry. With few exceptions, this approach is also increasingly apparent in TV interviews and Government press conferences.
Critical Thinking includes the ability to question and get directly to the root of an issue, ever more vital in a world where facts, science and truth are challenged.
In business, the ability to quickly, or not, get to the root of an issue, problem or solution within teams separates high-performance from low performance, a challenge now compounded by the challenge of discussion and debate via web conferencing.
Teaching the tools of effective questioning as part of Critical Thinking is one of the foundational behaviours in our Global Business Skills Course, our Operating System of Behaviours for Today’s World of Work. The data we see on this subject from cohorts of our clients across 30 countries is remarkable in its consistency.
While there are occasionally cultural feedback issues that the tools may be too direct for some cultures, in Thailand for example, such feedback is almost always balanced with a point from the same commentator acknowledging nevertheless that directness is now increasingly required in order that teams can move as fast as their global competition.
What’s gratifying when compared to the congressional example is, that, across all markets there’s recognition of the value and relevance of being trained in the tools to be direct and get to the root of an issue assertively, politely and quickly.
Maybe we should introduce the course to the lawmakers in congress?