There is No One Answer

replace fear

For 3 weeks I’ve been working up close and personal with an essay which asked me to articulate my assumptions about organisations and change. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the writing as I have dived into bits of my thinking and my working practice that I’ve previously kind of glossed over….. and in the end one of my conclusions was:

“…there is no one answer. For me, this allows me to be flexible because anything I try might work or equally not work. It’s hugely freeing.”

Freeing being the very opposite of how it felt to have “sudden” inspiration to write at 3 am on mornings when I needed to sleep… a lot…. My shoulders are creaking & cracking, my desk is smothered in papers & notes ( started the clear up operation this morning whilst listening to Zoe Rahman, Groove Armada and a smattering of old-school Prince) and my body feels under-exercises and over-caffeinated. Yet, somewhere deep within me, I’m kind of smiling.

There is no One Answer….

I’m not sure if that would be a satisfactory conclusion for everyone after 3 weeks & 5,000 words, but it’s the conclusion I came to and I’m kind of hanging out with it.

So far?… it’s good enough company to stay with me.

The answer about how I work with organisations and change can’t lie in wholly my brain – how I think and what I know is potentially interesting, but not necessarily significant. The answer won’t be wholly in my heart, either – though see previous blog post, I’m happy to speculate that change might well start there. Intuition serves me well and allows me to work from a non-verbal, energetic place that keeps me mostly out of trouble and allows me to ask deeper questions when I’m coaching or consulting – articulating a “felt sense” or an impression. Yes, my hunches offer me answers, but it’s pretty personal

Oh and then there’s the use-of-all sensory data to see, hear, smell, taste, touch what’s happening in the organisation…. And then of course senses are to be mistrusted, so that data needs to be questioned a bit…

And then…well the relationship part is essential. Building relationships. Listening well. Laughing. Delivering what has been promised. Being open.

Complex, messy, diverse, motion-filled life….. you gotta love it.

I’ve yet to find the School of No One Answer…. Let me know if it exists?

If not, I’m tempted to become the founder member. In the meantime, I’m intending to hang out with curiosity and confusion…

2 thoughts on “There is No One Answer

  1. Hi Julie

    I would like to read your essay. It deserves to be read by more people than just those who will mark it. I sometimes suggest that the ‘answer’ is better found with a compass rather than a map. We seem to be coming to the end of a period in Western? management thinking and practise where the answer to everything is the follow someone else’s map. The rule has been find out where you are decide where you need to be and follow the predetermined route set out by the map maker. This has enabled us to make a huge amount of progress in solving what Keith Grint would call ‘tame’ problems e.g. how to perform a successful heart transplant operation. However the new heart is not necessarily the solution to the problem. Sure without it there would be no future but its provision only offers the possibility of a new life it does not deliver it. To make the most of a new heart the recipient has to the over from the ‘expert’ and explore, experiment, learn how best to develop a new life. A compass id much more helpful in working on this sort of ‘wicked’ problem. A wicked problem is one where trial and error is the way to make progress as there is no one answer. I would due happy to send you something I have written that expands on this and join you in the school of no one answer



  2. Hello Irwin, good to hear from you. And I’m delighted to have a second member of the School!
    I sense a revolution starting -heh heh heh…

    Interestingly, themes of mapping & direction pretty much permeated the essay… words like explore, experiment and learn are, as you know, very appealing to me. Yes. Send stuff & I’m happy to share what I wrote… though it feels like baby steps at the start of a long & very cool journey into understanding my practice & how to interact and engage well with organisations.

    I hope you are well. Let me know if you are in Edinburgh any time soon – would be good to catch up.

    Warm regards, Julie

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