Teach “How to think”, not “What to think”

I read something interesting today. It was a story about a guy who tought the chairman of Intel Andy Grove about a problem that Intel faced. The interesting bit is how he tought it. Instead of telling the chairman the problem he explained first a model that he uses. In a second step he showed how to apply the model in a different sector (steel sector). The chairman understood the consequences for Intel on his own as a third step.

The interesting part is that the author (Clayton Christensen) is convinced that he wouldn’t have been heard if he would have told Grove directly his message. For anyone who wants to read it as well, look at “Making Strategy Work”, from the Lessons Learned series, 50 Lessons, Boston, pp. 31-38.

This links in with everything else I learned in the last months. It is quite similar to the persuasive funnel from Gillen (Terry Gillen (1999): Agreed! Improve your powers of influence, IPD). Both avoid to influence through direct teaching.

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