Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Playing the fool

By Thomas Davidson (fl. 1863-1903)
(Rosebery's) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
Hey - it's April Fool's Day, which likely means that the internet will be full of more pranks than a joke shop today.

This isn't one (though maybe next year I will be more creative on that front).

Instead, I'm just writing a note on playing dumb at the office. I don't mean literally pretending to have no intelligence, as I am not sure to what end that would get someone. And I don't mean literally asking what you might caveat with, "This might be a dumb question." Honestly, that is likely seeking an explanation without injecting your own opinion into the answer - something I think is quite admirable.

Rather, just the idea that if you acknowledge that you are not always the smartest person in the room, you might learn something. If you act unintelligent all the time, people might mistake it for the truth. And I'm not actually asking you to act as if you don't know or can't fathom what's going on. But rather just to understand that others may have as much or more to a meeting than you might, or acknowledging that your opinion or position may sway the group, stifling some good ideas from ever seeing the light of day. So pick a meeting full of smart people and instead of trying to drive it to your own objective and ends, ask questions to solicit their opinions and ideas before you make your mind up on the outcome.