Socratic Method | Operational Excellence Quick Hits
Quick Hits share weekly tips and techniques on topics related to Operational Excellence. This week’s theme relates to utilizing the Socratic method to understand employees’ current mindset in order to achieve breakthrough improvement. We hope you enjoy the information presented!
Speaker 1: (00:04)
What is the Socratic method? It’s a form of cooperative argument and dialogue between individuals based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas. Okay? So, it’s all about critical thinking and getting people to look at something from a different perspective. So, everyone has a paradigm that they’re under, and their paradigm really is their belief. In their beliefs, they make decisions that are aligned with their belief system. But if I’m not getting the correct outputs or getting the right performance, then I need to change their paradigm.
Speaker 1: (00:44)
Rule number one, never tell a person that you’re speaking with that they’re wrong or don’t know what they’re talking about. You want to get people to throw up the defense mechanism, tell them that they’re wrong. We’ll note here, they believe they’re right because they’re in their current paradigm. They don’t understand that they might be using a false assumption.
Speaker 1: (01:05)
How are we to apply the Socratic method? Prior to the conversation, make sure we clearly understand the objective you want to achieve. So if you’re going to your customer, before you go to that meeting what’s the objective of that meeting with the customer? So you need to understand what’s the Pot of Gold you’re trying to achieve, then clearly define the cause and effect thinking that is necessary to achieve that objective. If you have a suggestion for one of your clients that’s going to give breakthrough performance, you need to understand all the cause and effect of why that suggestion is going to create breakthrough performance for them. So, this is doing your homework before you go into the meeting or go meet with your client.
Speaker 1: (01:50)
During the conversation, you can present the idea and challenge the person to explain their justification why the objective is not attainable. “Oh, we’re going to increase profitability. We’re going to double the profitability of the company.” They’ll be like, “What are you nuts?” So, I get that a lot. You need to understand their current paradigm, why they don’t believe that’s possible. And so we want to ask them why they don’t believe it’s possible. So now we’re starting to understand what’s their current paradigm.
Speaker 1: (02:21)
Then, if we can give a counter-example or analogy where their current paradigm doesn’t hold true, now we can say, “Hey, in this situation the paradigm doesn’t hold true.” We need to start challenging those persons [inaudible 00:02:35] step is to challenge that person to articulate your cause [inaudible 00:02:39] in using their new paradigm or new way of thinking. Okay? So we walk them through that process of change, changing their mindset through the questioning. And we use examples and their reality to understand the current thinking in how, what the flaw is in that thinking.