Automation may solve the immediate problems of reducing costs and completing routine tasks; but when leaders take such a narrow view of it they fail to raise the big questions required to solve deeper business challenges.
Hal Gregersen’s just-published MIT Sloan Management Review article, “Digital Transformation Opens New Questions — and New Problems to Solve” reveals vivid examples from conversations with leaders at Salesforce and ServiceNow of what breakthroughs happen simply by changing the question about how AI and machine learning are employed. An outgrowth of the research Gregersen carried out for his upcoming book “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” (Harper Collins, November 2018), this article illustrates how leaders who start out digging a well – by asking the better question – can end up finding buried treasure.
What these cases reveal is the need for business leaders to see their function as not to develop definitive solutions, but to open a new line of analytical questions. “When leaders view technology as merely a source of answers and solutions, they miss opportunities to innovate in bigger, bolder ways,” writes Gregersen. In the technological sphere, as in others, Gregersen’s research helps leaders completely revamp their approach to problem-solving and decision-making. What treasure will your questions uncover in 2019?