The quality of our questions determines the usefulness of the answers. Right now, we aren’t asking the right questions. This is understandable—we are still imagining that this pandemic is a tunnel that we need to ‘get through’ and once we do, things will return to “normal.” This may sound harsh, but we aren’t going back. Too much has happened. We know too much. We can’t unlearn what we know.
We need to start thinking of this COVID world as a new place in which we’re going to live. Yes, someday there will be a vaccine. And yes, we will be able to live more safely with the virus around, but we will be living with it—we’re not leaving it behind.
So instead of asking ourselves how we get “back” to normal, we need to start thinking about how our organizations live (well) in this new environment. What is it that we are here to achieve? What are our organization’s goals? How do we fulfill our fundamental purpose in the current environment?
Right now, a lot of us are using our time and energy to design approaches that mimic the way that we did things a year ago. Things that we did in person, we now do online, using old models to design our virtual experiences. What if we stopped trying to replicate our past experiences and started creating new approaches—approaches that use the tools that we have in optimal, rather than reductive, ways?
We can do this by focusing on what we’re trying to achieve and by asking better questions about how we get to those goals. Adaptation through creative problem solving is what this moment requires. And creative problem solving starts by asking better questions.