1 Humble Inquiry

When conversations go wrong, when our best advice is ignored, when we get upset with the advice that others give us, when our subordinates fail to tell us things that would improve matters or avoid pitfalls, when discussions turn into arguments that end in stalemates and hurt feelings—what went wrong and what could have been done to get better outcomes?

A vivid example came from one of my executive students in the MIT Sloan Program who was studying for his important finance exam in his basement study. He had explicitly instructed his six-year-old daughter not to interrupt him. He was deep into his work when a knock on the door announced the arrival of his daughter. He said sharply, “I thought I told you not to interrupt me.” ...

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