Today I have the pleasure of talking to Hildy Gottlieb.

She is a social change theorist, an asker of powerful questions, and an advocate for social movements to create meaningful systems change. In her role as co-founder of the living experiment at Creating the Future, and as an in-demand speaker (at live events and online gatherings) Hildy is helping people re-imagine and redefine the systems they encounter every day, all by changing the questions they ask.

You'll find a full transcript of our conversation below.  Enjoy!

Enjoy this short snippet from the show ...

This is a great article Hildy wrote "Creating a Better World Means Asking Better Questions".  Within it, you'll find links to the questions that's worth downloading.

If you want to know more, there's heaps of information on the Creating The Future website.

Or connect with Hildy via LinkedIn

[00:01:12] Sabbatical

it is a gift that I am very fortunate to be able to give myself almost every year. Uh, I started out maybe about 10 years ago. Um, and I'd give myself four weeks and I realized so four weeks by the time, the first week is over, you're barely decompressed out of the day.

And so I gave myself two months and then finally, Uh, on, on this half of the world, June, July and August is when everything sort of slows down for summer. And so, uh, I started taking June, July and August, as often as I can. I didn't do it last year. It gives me permission to not have to meet everybody else's expectations to be.

It's a really wonderful gift to be able to put an auto responder on your email that says if it's urgent, get hold of me, but I need some time to think and to write and to create. And so, yeah, it was, it was a good one. Um, Interestingly Judy this year. And I'm pretty sure that, uh, both you and your listeners will not be surprised at this year.

This year was very different than I've experienced in the past because none of us realize the. Low sort of burning hum in the back of our minds of stress that is going on with all that's going on in the world right now. Yeah. And, and we just don't realize it. And so, you know, I, I mentioned that, uh, that first time it took me clearly a week out of the four weeks to decompress.

This time, it took me four weeks. Wow. And I was just [00:03:00] grateful for the permission that I didn't really need to do an, any expectations. I was meeting where my own. Uh, and so I, I did finish a wonderful article that was published in the Stanford social innovation review. And. And the rest there was, there was some planning work that got done, but the gift of being able to say, I can't be at my best, if I'm at you don't even realize what stress does to you.

Don't realize you're not reacting well, you don't realize. And, and to be able to step back and have that time. Uh, to, to rest and to heal. Cause this year has been a difficult one for everyone. Yeah. For everybody. And, and yeah, so that was interesting. You say that actually Hildy cause I, you know, we, we, we've been working from home for three decades and you know, it's, so we're used to it we're, you know, it's not a difference for us.

[00:04:41] Brain Science

A lot of the work that we're doing at creating the future is rooted in brain science and understanding what the brain does when we're under even just a low level of stress. It, you, yeah. I notice that the people around you, the people you're working [00:05:00] with are having trouble finding just regular, everyday words.

It's not even the, the big words or the convoluted words or the technical language or something we knew once and forgot. No, you, you can't remember just normal everyday words and you, you wind up, you know, I, I ended up talking to my husband and saying, put the thing over on that other side. No, I've lost the word table.

[00:06:15] Make The World A Better Place

I have been in community organizing. I have been in the business world. I have owned a series of my own businesses, including a contracting from a commercial real estate, from a plant nursery, which was wonderful. Um, I, I miss my plant nursery. I must say. Um, after all of that, wanting to have life, really have the meaning where the work you're doing is making the world a better place.

Yeah. And my business partner at the time and now husband, um, we sort of went down a list of what we wanted life to be like. And we started to consult to community organizations, uh, nonprofits, social enterprises, governments that were doing social [00:07:00] change, work, small businesses that were socially conscious.

We didn't care. Who, who it was if they wanted the world to be a better place we were consulting. And what we found about five years into that work is that, that we were, uh, I know no many of your audience are our business folks. So you will understand this, uh, in, in marketing, the best marketing is if you don't have to market and all of your businesses coming by word of mouth, and we were at that point, Where we, we were traveling all over North America.

We were doing work in Mexico, in the United States and in Canada and, and working by referral and by all normal standards we were doing well, except we weren't seeing any change. And what we were seeing was that organizations were getting better at what they did, but what they did was not changing the world.

It might've been feeding, hungry people, but you suddenly look up and say, you know, it would be really nice to get a note from my food bank on year that says this year we fed less people because fewer people were hungry. And instead we get letters every year that say we're feeding more and more and more people.

[00:08:15] And, and we started to see the disconnect. Well, What I know, looking back now, 20 years after that epiphany, is that what we started doing as consultants and we're no longer consulting, but what we started doing as consultants was to change the questions we were asking of our clients and fast forward, five years, seven years.

We were no longer doing any of the consulting work, the way quote, normal whole nonprofit consultants do it. And we were seeing results and our friends and our colleagues in consulting were saying, how are you getting those results? Because we're not able to get them. And so we started teaching [00:09:00] them initially, uh, just, you know, hang out with us and we'll don't, we will download everything that we have learned.

Uh, and made the decision that we really had something. It was, it was working so consistently and the more we created a framework around it, and I'm happy to talk about that framework more. We created a framework around it. What we realized we were doing was creating a repeatable framework around the things that people already do that work well.

[00:09:31] But they think that it's just, well, that's Mary. She can do that. She's her? No, Mary is actually doing things in a certain way. And if you break that down, it repeatably is possible. And so creating that framework. Okay. So we see that things are consistently going in a productive. Uh, direction in a creative direction in, uh, groups were walking into a room, not trusting each other and [00:10:00] walking out of the room, figuring out how they could work together.

[00:10:03] All of these wonderful things were happening and they were happening consistently. That's the point where you go from the trial and error of, Oh, I'm a consultant. I'll just try a bunch of stuff. Yeah. Asking the question. And this gets to you too. You're a very roundabout answer to your question. Um, it's starting to ask, okay.

[00:10:23] Why is this working consistently? What is this magic sauce that's in here that is working consistently. And what we found is that there's a whole bunch of science and it's not just brain science, but a lot of it is brain science, uh, around, uh, behind why this was working. And we had by trial and error.

[00:10:44] You know, you go in the direction where things are becoming more productive, more trusting, more abundant, and you, you issue the things that are making people, distrust each other, or feel uncomfortable. And the more you walk in that direction, you don't realize that what you're doing is you're walking in the direction of how our brains are calmest.

[00:11:06] Happiest, Most Productive

Happiest most productive, most creative. And so it just led to studying a whole lot of different sciences. There's, there's, there's math in what we do. There's economics in what we do. There's um, you know, physics quite honestly, because much of it is around causality. Uh, but, but a big, huge piece because you know, we're humans doing the work.

Therefore it makes perfect sense that it would be our brains that make the difference. I love what you talk about in, in, um, in, you know, your living experiment and, and the way to make our world more humane for, for listeners who have listened to a few of my episodes. Now, you're, they'll get, they'll understand that I'm a bit obsessed about the need for us to become more human.

[00:11:52] Being More Human

And, and so I'd love to know a bit more from your perspective. What that is. [00:12:00] Wow. More human. Uh, and, and I'm smiling because we talk about that as well. And in my book, the Pollyanna principles, which I, I wrote, it was once we decided that we had something that was working, we knew that we needed to share it with as many people as possible.

And, uh, which sort of goes against the consultant's code, which is, Oh, we know how to do this. We should stay, you know, keep it to ourselves and, and make lots of money. And. I am a firm believer that we have a very, very short life. And, uh, the most important thing that we can do is make sure that we are giving what we have to the world.

We, we inherited these gifts. They're not just ours. We inherited them and it's ours to give, to pay that forward. And yeah. One of the things that in writing that book I realized, and this was 10 years ago, 11 years ago, was that the things, the traits that we talk about when we say that's just human nature.

[00:13:04] Are never nice. You know, when we, when, when, when somebody says, well, you know, that's just human nature. We're talking about greed or fear or, or hoarding resources or those, those sorts of things. And, and the, the aha was, you know what? We are one among many animals on this planet. And almost all animals that we encounter in our own day to day experience greed and hoarding and fear and all, and to suddenly realize, Oh wow, all those things that we blame on quote human nature are actually all of the traits that we share with the animal world.

[00:13:47] They're all of the things that happen when our brains are in reactivity. And that the things that are different being human. So getting to your question of what does it mean to be human? The traits that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom, our, uh, our ability to envision a future that's different than our past, uh, our ability to envision that we are somehow connected to 7 billion people.

[00:14:12] The vast majority of them, we will never see. But we know that we're connected to them and there's, there's, there's a long list of the traits that we humans have that while some animals may have one or two of those, we have all of them. So when I think about what it means to be human and swipe, um, I wish that you could see the smile I have on my face, because what it means to be human is, is all of those traits that were the only ones that happened.

[00:14:41] Yeah. I think what I find though, in a lot of, if I'm in business, obviously, cause we, you know, most of our listeners are either want to be in business or they are it's the, we, we. Get in business for our own reasons. And we forget that who we're doing business with a human and, and that we have to relate to those people.

[00:15:05] There seems to be this disconnect. There's I'm, I'm running the show. You're the customer. I don't know. I just, I feel like we've, we've been, we've missed that link somewhere. Well, you know, it is, it is a big piece beauty of why creating the future's mission is what it is. And we formed creating the future in 20, I guess 2011 was when we first really started meeting.

[00:15:30] Uh, and it, it is a not-for-profit in the, in the, based in the U.S, working globally, teaching people all over the world. We've actually done immersion courses in New Zealand. About 10 years ago with a group, spent some time in Australia and, the mission of creating the future. Is systems change so that the systems we all encounter every day are bringing out the best in us.

[00:16:01] Changing The Systems

And the reason we focus on systems, again, rooted in brain science, individuals will go where the systems lead them because our brains crave that, that, that predictability. We it's why you'll see you, you go into a business and, uh, and you'll, you'll start your inquiry and you'll start asking, well, what's going on and what's not working.

What is working? And invariably, you'll hear something about, well, the system, that's just the system. We can't fight that. This is, that's just the way it is. And, and you start to, to realize, Oh, wow, okay. We're going along with this system, even though we know it's not working. And, and we, and so the realization is that will fit and, and systems are really, it just, you know, this is how we do things.

[00:16:53] So it could be the criminal justice system. It could be cultural systems. It could be systems that we create within our own workplaces, our own businesses, our own families. And when you start to look at the systems under which we operate in a capitalist society, We have this emphasis on individual success.

[00:17:17] If this emphasis rooted in scarcity is emphasis rooted in, in a degree of reactivity and mistrust, um, we, we call it responding to customer need, but in fact, we're reacting to customer need. And so much of, you know, I was, I was just chatting with someone yesterday who was talking about the fact that when you look at product marketing, How often, you know, think about deodorant, think about teeth whitening.

[00:17:45] How often is that rooted in making somebody feel scared that, Oh my gosh, do I smell? Are my teeth not yet? And so it's so much of the systems, again, that we operate under guide us to those sorts of, well, I have to go it alone reaction rather than those, those wonderful commonalities that we all have. And that systems developed in some ways, the type of systems you're talking about, are they developed in some ways, because of beliefs, do you think in part, yes.

[00:18:49] Assumptions & Beliefs

Will they learn them from their parents and from their workplace and their environment and their neighbors. And where did they, and you'd go back and you start going back over, where did they learn them? And the epiphany was that. If we go back to the beginning of humankind, 50 to 100,000 years ago, humans, as we know them.

And we look at what reality was like, then reality was a matter of day to day survival. It was a matter of reacting to circumstances, whether that was an abundance of food or a lack of food, it was a reality of scarcity. If you did find the food, then you starved. So you would work together. We have this wonderful part of our brains that is actually wired to work together, but we also have a part of our brains that is wired to re uh, to recognize someone who's not from our tribe.

[00:19:45] And so, you know, go back again a hundred thousand years, but we, we trusted the people in our tribe, but don't trust those guys over there. Cause if we've got food and they don't, they're going to take it. And so again, [00:20:00] because of the way that that humans have evolved, we're not stronger than other animals.

[00:20:04] We're not faster. We don't have sharper teeth. What we have is the ability to tell stories and hand them down. And so we would tell stories of this is who you can trust. This is who you can't trust. We would tell stories about the scarcity and how you find food and how you react under certain circumstances.

[00:20:24] And that's what we've handed down. And so, even though we no longer are living in any of those circumstances, at least certainly in the developed world, We still are, carrying those stories with us. And, those stories become the beliefs and assumptions that we see just as reality. So those assumptions, his stories and beliefs are what color, our actions.

[00:20:51] We are, our actions definitely create our results, but the thing that creates our actions is all of those beliefs and assumptions. And when you realize how many of those assumptions. Come from a day. That is nothing like our time right now. That's when you, you go, Oh, okay. Maybe, maybe we can adapt. Yeah. You know, actually I'm wow.

[00:21:16] That's a big subject. We could sit and talk about that. I have no doubt for quite a long time, but I'm going to flash back just to, um, you know, your conversation you actually had with someone yesterday about marketing a product. And because it's, it's common, wait, any marketing blog and they talk about.

[00:21:36] Scarcity and hitting on that emotional nerve of a potential customer. So if we can't do that, how, how do we, I mean, what, what sort of do we have to have changed to, how do we be different to that? Well, let me, let me sort of pivot a little bit and talk about catalytic thinking and see where marketing falls into that.

[00:22:01] Okay. The framework of that. Came out of both the research, the experimenting, and in particular, the more we talked, what we were doing as consultants, and then after just we're teaching it as, as what creates social change, what creates social movements. When we see success happening, what is going on in those places that we learned from our students, because they were going out, taking it out into the world and bringing back stories.

[00:22:32] And the framework of cat thinking really homes, any thought process, whether you are planning a marketing plan, whether you are planning a, um, uh, a dinner party, whether you are planning a community effort, it hones it down into really three core questions. The first set of questions is around where we aim.

[00:22:59] Are we aiming at reacting at what's wrong or are we aiming at creating what's possible? And we are so used to, um, and it's not just the business world. It's everywhere. We are so used to the question of what is the problem and how will we solve it. We are so used to, uh, in, in, in marketing, we look at where are the pain points?

[00:23:21] We're, we're so used to reacting the, the freedom and the creativity that comes up. When we talk about what is the future we want to see and what will it take to create that. The second set of questions are around how we feel about each other. So if we're going to aim at that future, obviously people are going to need to create that future.

[00:23:47] Questions Around Trust

How do we feel about each other? And, you know, we talked a little bit before about, about not trusting the other tribes. I frequently when I'm keynoting and like to go a lot of keynoting. I'll look out at an audience and, and I'll ask them how many of you have spent an entire day trying to find somebody because you found their wallet and you want to return it to them.

[00:24:12] And, and you know, most of them, the audience raises their hand. We've all done that we found somebody's wallet and we know, Oh my gosh, they're going to be frantic. I must get this to them. You know, a couple of months ago, my husband found a wallet and wound up tracking down this person. It took him three hours.

[00:24:30] And we've all sort of done that. And there might ask the question. Okay. if you lost your wallet, what's the first thing you'd think. And you'd go, Oh boy, they're stealing the money. The cash will be gone. They're using the credit cards. I need to cancel my credit cards. And it's just such an interesting disconnect, how we all assume?

[00:24:50] Well, of course I would return the wallet, but that's just me. No, most of us would return in a wallet. And so again, the sets of questions that bring out the best in us are what are the questions around? What does it take to trust each other? And, and what can we accomplish together that none of us can accomplish on our own.

[00:25:12] And. It's interesting because this begins, our work was in the social change arena, but we've also run businesses and we've also advised people who are running businesses and, I'm jotting down a note to share with you a story. About where this comes into businesses, but you know, how many business coalitions are there?

[00:25:35] How many networking groups are there, where people understand there's things we can accomplish together that we can't accomplish on our own. And then the third set of questions is around resources. So we have where we're aiming our purpose. We have people, and then we have questions around resources and the resource, the resource questions we are so used to are things like where's the money going to come from?

[00:25:58] Change The Question To Share …

And, you know, you go down that rabbit hole with the million questions that come behind that the question that leads to our better angels is a question around what resources do we have together that we can share. And, and what does that make possible? So if you think about, um, in, in the social change arena, The fact that not everybody, you know, let's use a very, very simple example, an afterschool program where after school, they need to pick up kids at school and take them to the program.

They need a van and they need a van from the hours of three o'clock to five o'clock. And the first thought everybody has is, well, we need to find funding and go buy a van. Instead of asking who already has a van in town that may not be using it during those hours. Oh, you know what? Our church group only uses it on Sundays.

They're not using it after school. We could. So it's those kinds of questions that lead to our coming together are solving problems together, are thinking together are exploring together. And, and so. Now, shifting from that social change perspective to a business perspective. There's a wonderful example that I love.

And in, in North America, at least there is a company called Amy's organic foods. I don't know if, if they're in your neck of the woods, uh, similar things, but Yeah. And Amy's began with a couple that had a baby. They wanted to provide organic food for their baby. So they started cooking and they said, well, you know, there's other families in our neighborhood.

We maybe we could all get together and cook organic meals. And they started to realize there was a market for this and their daughter's name was Amy, which is why its own foods. Well they started to grow and they started to grow. They had the recipes, they knew how to, how to produce the food. And it was awesome food.

And by the way, it is really awesome for them. But what they did not know was how to package it because they started to grow and they started to have to ship things from one end of the continent to the other. So if you're on the East coast shipping to the West coast, how do we package to do that? We don't know that we're, we're just a family that knows how to cook.

And so they picked up the phone and they called the largest provider of frozen foods, certainly in the U S and potentially globally, which is Swanson’s Foods. And they said, you know, we're this small company we're going to be focusing on organic foods. Could you answer some questions that we have about how you package your foods and ship them?

[00:28:56] And Swanson said, Oh, well, one better come down. Let us show you our plant and show you what we do. Wow. And Swanson's became their advisor. We're so used to thinking that we can't do that. And how many, especially small businesses startup, I wish I could call such and such. And we don't because again, the systems tell us, Oh, don't call them.

They're just going to tell you where to go. Well, you know, the chances they may and they may not. And so we have these, these assumptions in our head about what reality is, which are really just stories we're telling ourselves that we believe are true. And so we can share. And we see so many times businesses that are sharing it, you know, look at an executive suite of offices where you've got, you know, seven, eight, 10 entrepreneurs in a hub.

Sharing space sharing, computer time, sharing wifi sharing. There it is so possible when we start asking different questions. [00:30:00] Yeah, I think on your website, you call it collective enoughness, which yeah. Which is, which is actually makes total sense. And I can visualize so many examples of this in place, in, in everything actually.

[00:30:14] If we change the questions we're asking, we don't have to change our assumptions.

And every single aspect of life, we, have these assumptions. It's really hard. How do you break the habit of having. A belief and assumption, cause that's really hard to break. You know, it's funny because early on it's where our tagline for creating the future came from, which has changed. The questions changed.

[00:30:33] The world, loves that. What we realized is, you know, I would hear. And, and it was funny. You'll appreciate this. We were actually in the middle, it was our early days. We were in the middle of a messaging process to try and figure it out. What is a tagline that actually captures what is our message?

And I found myself in workshop after workshop, where people would say exactly what you just said, which is it's hard to change the way we think it's hard to change assumptions. And my answer was repeatedly. It's not hard when you change the questions you're asking. And that was what we totally realize.

[00:31:09] That's the message. If, we change the questions we're asking, we don't have to change our assumptions. Our assumptions just change. It is so remarkable. And I have been doing this now for 20 years and watching mindsets shift when we simply change the questions that we're asking. And again, one of the ahas that we had is that our assumptions.

Or really just answers to questions. We don't even realize we're asking. And so let me, let me give you a very simple example of that. Um, I can either assume the world is flat or I can assume the world is round, but the question that I'm really trying to answer is what's going to happen if I go out there.

[00:31:57] And, and so when we start to see our assumptions as answers to questions that are invisible, that we don't even know are there. We can make those questions visible and by making them visible, we can actually work with them. We can, we can be intentional about the questions rather than having them invisibly guiding us.

And we don't even know it. That's really powerful actually. Hildy I, I, um, it, it, there are, there are there simple examples for, for us that we can, you know, if we come across something and we think instantly we we've put a brick wall in front of us. What is an example of a question we should be asking ourselves?

[00:32:40] Oh my dear. Sorry. I can, because there's, there's many, many, many of them, it depends on the circumstance and what I have. Okay. I will make myself a note to send you and you can free for listeners if you like. Uh, it is a, um, a PDF. That's got some, some questions that are helpful. Some, and let me, let me, you had asked how this applies to marketing.

[00:33:06] How To Use The Questions To Shape Marketing

I'll give you a marketing example of how. And this was for ourselves actually at creating the future. For some of our classes, we have, we have a range of classes from, a deep dive into immersion, which is, is once a week, few hours online for several months, down to, you know, how to blog posts and everything in between.

[00:33:35] And we have got some. Classes that are, sort of click and play they're recorded worksheets and those, those sorts of things. They've got a, you know, maybe an hour or two video. And so we had a new one that came out and we were going, I'm going to do the, what we call a learning opportunities page.

[00:33:56] Uh, which in, in most cases is called a sales page, but for us as an educational institution, we want to give people the opportunity to learn, but we still have, you know, many decades of business marketing in our heads. And so while we were asking the questions of. Um, the catalytic thinking questions, what is, what is the end result we want to see and, and for whom, and that's the big piece, the end result.

And for whom the first was obviously well for the people who would take the class. Okay, well, you know, what, what conditions need to be in place for them to want to take the class. And then we went back to that for whom question. And we said, do you know what people are going to come to this page? And we're going to guess that the vast majority of them are not going to take the class that many of them will click and take the class and pay the tuition and take the class, but many well not.

And as a social change organization, our goal is not to make a lot of money. Our goal is to spread a word and to spread this, this way of thinking and for people to, to know it and understand it. What do we want this page to make possible for them? Well, in, in product marketing, this sort of becomes that area of funnel of, of, okay.

There's people who aren't going to buy your $249, whatever it is.

Them to maybe be ready to buy something else or, or to want something or to need something else or to maybe pick up the phone and say to you, you know what? I can't take that thing. That's $249, but do you have something that's $49 and for you to go, Oh yeah, we do. And it's it opens up the door and what we wound up doing was creating little places on the page.

It's not obvious at all, unless. You're in that mindset, places on the page, say, would you like to learn more about this? And they can click and it entices them to want to learn deeper and take the class, but they also would learn something if they just went there. And so it is a change of mindset that happens of, Oh, maybe our business, our work is not just about the people who are going to click and buy.

Maybe our work is about educating. The, population about this thing that we have and why it's cool. And, and maybe they won't buy it from us, but the, I mean, look at Amazon, they, they, they, they put out or look at any of the major stores online. They put out a breadth of things while you're interested in this.

You might also like that. Yeah, I'm looking through and I'm going, Ooh. Yeah, but you know what? I could get that for either a hundred dollars cheaper or I could get six more benefits if I buy this bigger one again, that scarcity mindset and we have to go it alone. It makes me so fearful of looking at the, well, what if they don't buy, then I'm going to ignore them.

Well, I feel ignored and I probably won't come back and buy from you. Yeah, it's actually quite profound because it's in, I know that so many of us are in the sales process. Just forgotten the reasons why in the end haven't we it's also businesses appear to anyway. Well, I, and I'll give you a funny example.

We, we're sheltering in place. My husband and I, and the most delightful thing we are doing is going out for many, many drives into the beautiful countryside around Tucson, Arizona. So when all of the travel restrictions, and I urge all of you to just come visit Tucson, because it is beautiful.

And so one of the places that we went one day was down around one country and we're driving around and it's just beautiful. But all of the normal places you would stop to go to the bathroom are closed. So the gas station is closed and the convenience store is closed. And so we stopped at one of the wineries.

And, uh, you know, you sort of, you know, you're treading on delicate ground, you know, they probably don't want you to just come in and go into the bathroom, but we needed to go to the bathroom. Yeah. And so, you know, we took turns and, and, uh, my husband is talking to the guy at the desk and then he went into the, into the bathroom and I was talking, and finally, this guy looked at me with this evil eye and he said, you do know our bathrooms are only for customers.

And we walked out and I looked at Dimitra and I said, and you do know, I will probably never be your customer. Exactly. It's like, what is it hurting you to let me use the loo? Just it's those [00:39:00] simple, simple examples that if we treat people, it goes back to what you said. So early on Judy, if we treat people like humans, yeah.

It was amazing how they respond. Well, and people remember that, you know, that's what people remember. One of the, one of my big bugbears is that businesses often send out or communicate in fairly. Unpleasant terms actually after the transaction, for example, and, and, you know, that's the lasting experience we have.

That's the lasting memory. I just think we need to be a little bit kinder and think before we act and go, would I really like to be treated like that?

[00:40:15] And they would say, good, how are you going? And they'd say, I'd say good. And we'd move on. He says, now, We're asking, how are you going? And we really want to know, and, and the extent to which so many, because like you and your husband, uh, we've been working online for many, many years. Our work is global. And so we've been working online online for many years out, out of the house.

[00:40:45] More Caring Attitude

How many. Zoom meetings are beginning now with how are you, how are you doing with your family? We've always, uh, creating the future. We have always done that. And actually, if anyone wants to watch or be part of any of our meetings, one of our ethos is, and we are an experiment is that all of our strategy meetings at creating the future and all of our board meetings are open for anyone to not only watch, but participate in, you can sit in the zoom meeting with us, strategize.

[00:41:20] Uh, be part of the conversation and, and they're all recorded and you can see them all online. If you go to creating the future.org, if you do that, what you will find regardless of what meeting is, we start every single meeting with. What's been exciting since we last saw you. And we take 10, 15 minutes to go around the room to, to be human with each other, to get to know each other, this ridiculous notion that it is a waste of time.

To do the quote touchy feely stuff, and that it is way more effective and efficient to just get down to business. But you know, when, when things fall apart, nine times out of 10 it's because we don't trust each other. We don't know each other. We're not sharing information with each other. It's generally the people and not, and, and understanding that.

Why wouldn't we spend the time to get to know each other and to feel comfortable with each other. I love, I just love that attitude. I really, really do. That's an, are you, are you, I mean, I guess what I'm can only be hopeful because we're still in the middle, middle of COVID, but, um, I guess I am mildly hopeful that this will be a change that will embrace the fact that.

We're all connected with this. We're all going through our own level. Every single person on the globe is going through a level of the stress associated with this pandemic. So do you think that will affect. The way we move forward. I hope so. And it is one of the reasons why I wrote the article that you saw in social innovation.

Okay, good. And I'll put a link in that, in the show notes for people. Wonderful, wonderful. Um, it's because we have this very unique opportunity right now, very unique. I always I'm a writer. And so the words very unique, don't worry. It's a wonderfully unique opportunity right now. To step into a future that is not like, and it will be different.

[00:43:32] Be Conscious Of The Questions You Ask – In Our Changed World

And unless we are conscious about the questions we ask, we're going to ask the same questions that created the same systems that led us to think that it is effective and efficient to not spend time getting to know each other. Oh good. Now we're finally all together in the room. We can eliminate all of that and get back to normal.

And while people are acknowledging that maybe normal isn't necessarily what we all want to get back to. If we don't have alternatives, [00:44:00] that's what we'll go back to. And so it is really, really important right now that we work to, to again, change the questions at the heart of the assumptions that guide all of our everyday work, all of our workplaces.

Um, because otherwise we will go back. It's the only system we know. So it's the only thing we've got. We'll go back to that. I feel like we might there'll be New Zealand. Of course, we, we, um, managed to get rid of covert pretty quickly. We were only in lockdown for a very, really relatively short period of time.

[00:46:08] And again, our tagline have changed. The questions changed the world. Oh, imagine a, so I talked to her early on about the first question being about where we aim. Are we aiming at the problems and reacting to the problems and our brains? Just think about deep diving into how bad things are. And feel the adrenaline and feel the muscle.

[00:46:32] That's how our brains work. Uh, India doesn't have to be a tiger coming at us for us to react with it. With adrenaline, that our brains, the pilot work on our desk can do the same thing. Imagine you're in a staff meeting, you're just a person in a staff meeting. You don't have any positional authority whatsoever, and you can feel the energy in the room going into the weeds and getting more and more granular.

[00:46:57] How We Aim Our Questions

And people are arguing and they're not comfortable. And the ability to say, okay, I, I get what the problem is. What would good look like on the other side of that? What do we really want to aim at? That is powerful and good. What future do we want to see regardless of what the issue is and what happens is you watched the energy change in the room.

[00:47:21] The more, you can practice those questions. And if you're going to link to that, to the article, there's actually a PDF at the end of the article that has a bunch of questions that folks can be asking. The more we practice asking those questions, listening for when the energy in the room is getting tense and being able to ask some of those questions of, well, you know, who else cares about what we care about?

[00:47:45] Could we possibly work with them? Oh, wow. You know, there is that group that's doing okay. It's we all have the ability. We talk about it to creating the future as leading from the middle, because we all have the power to change a single question and it changes everything. Yeah, I'm actually excited. I'm going to go and download that PDF and maybe I'll blow it up somewhere and show her in front of my face because I I'm a, I'm a big one for, I love to change.

[00:48:15] I love to grow. It seems to be what I'm driven to do. And I am so convinced that we need to change the way our systems, our business systems are the way we. Communicate and treat people. I just, and I love this whole movement and what you're doing this work. It's really exciting. So congratulations, and thank you so much.

[00:48:38] TEDx Talk

I didn't even get to talk about your TEDx talk, which I loved by the way. And, and actually just briefly, cause I'll put that link into that as well in the show notes for everybody. Cause we really it's really worth watching, but the analogy in there which may be a middle, not spoil, but the analogy of getting to the airport on time.

And, and using that, Oh my goodness. Did that resonate with me in three seconds or less? It really is the fact that we think of the future as this big, hairy, unknown thing that's out there. And when you break it down the exact same way you would break down, I'm getting to the airport on time. No one says, Oh, getting to the airport, that's in the future.

I don't know how to do that. No, we know exactly what it would take. It's going to take us an hour here. It's going to take us a half an hour to do that. And I need to leave the house at such and such a time. You know, we do that all the time and we can do it in everything. Yeah, beautiful. What a fabulous place to, to end on this wonderful conversation.

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