“How?” Is a Defense

There is depth in the question “How do I do this?” that is worth exploring. The question is a defense against the action. It is a leap past the question of purpose, past the question of intentions, and past the drama of responsibility. The question “How?”—more than any other question—looks for the answer outside ourselves. It is an indirect expression of our doubts. Our search for manuals, recipes, the practical, is endless. The nonfiction best-seller list is filled with recipe books that have nothing to do with cooking.

I once was with a group that wanted to know how to implement empowerment and participation. Who doesn’t? I asked the audience how many of them had recently read a book on managing change or leadership. Most ...

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