I just finished reading an interesting book about building a business, "Wine Bar Theory" by David Gilbertson. He breaks the book down into 28 easy-to-digest rules of two to three pages each.
Rule No. 3 "Keep Asking,” caught my attention. He writes, "People and businesses stay fresh by questioning assumptions. Especially their own." (Or, as I like to say, it’s not what you don’t know that hurts you; it’s what you think is so that isn’t.)
Gilbertson writes that certain tipoff phrases alert listeners about a speaker’s assumption-protected zones:
- "She will never agree to that,"
- "That failed years ago," or
- "Don't even go there."
By contrast, here are tipoff questions that signal to the listener that he or she is entering an assumption-challenged zone:
- "Do we have to do that every day?"
- "Why do three people need to sign it?"
- "Does anyone actually use this?"
Gilberston writes that "I don't know" is a fine answer, but the person employing it must follow it with, “Let's find out." It's a great book, and lawyers can knock it off in an afternoon.