Corporate Punishment i) Questions

I’ve decided to begin an irregular series on ‘corporate’ behaviours which one encounters in large organisations.

Most of these start with the germ of a good idea from some management book or coach. Some are learnt through imitation and emulation. Taken to excess or with the wrong intent they stymie progress, sap energy and scupper decision making. A common feature is they are safe and look clever but often aren’t. As with so much in life, too much or too little is a vice – only the golden mean is a virtue.

Number one in the series is always asking questions and not stating your own view. Aristotle (not himself a man to beat around the bush) quotes a prior Greek, Hesiod, on this topic.

Hesiod is pungent as an old sock in his critique:

“He is best of all who of himself conceiveth things; Good again is he too who can adopt a good suggestion; But whoso neither of himself conceiveth nor hearing from another layeth it to heart; — he is a useless man.”

It takes Aristotelian effort to develop a new insight and the courage of Achilles to present a new idea. Listening, thinking, improving, adapting and adopting is what you want in return. Questions are too easy.

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3 Responses to Corporate Punishment i) Questions

  1. A friend in contemplation says:

    “Listening, thinking, improving, adapting and adopting is what you want in return. Questions are too easy.”

    You’re right, but never discard the potential for non-commital questioning to help the internal process of thinking, improvement and adaptation. Hesiod’s star performers would us those cutious interventions for their own improvement.

    • jworne says:

      The path to wisdom does not involve reinventing the wheel. The ability to listen, learn, change your mind and admit you were wrong I’m sure would have found Hesiod’s approval.

      Constant reinvention is as tiring as constant questions.

  2. Pingback: Subway Sceptic | Achilles & Aristotle

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