This starts with no agenda. The challenge of Discovery is that it starts with the
premise that the Discoverer knows absolutely nothing, has no need other than the
other person’s input, has no purpose other than Finding Out and no agenda other than
the resolution of whatever needs to be resolved. This sounds simple and it is, but
is not an easy point of view to acquire let alone sustain. Even so these skills have
been acquired successfully by many strongly driven, over-achieving, over-competitive,
“difficult” people – and it has transformed their lives and the working experience
of those around them.
It may be helpful to describe what happens with Discovery Skills
The Discoverer asks questions and listens to the answers, the next questions are
driven by the last answers, the only purpose is to seek clarity and comprehension
by the speaker, the only structure is whatever is needed to assist the speaker’s
understanding. There is never a Discoverer’s point of view or opinion; there is no
advice, no information transfer, no over-emotional engagement, no external referencing.
The Discoverer may often speak for a total time that is as little as 10% of the whole
Discovery conversation – 12 minutes in two hours - 3 out of 30 minutes.
Our system of education has a great deal to answer for.
We are taught to identify what we do not know, then to work out what we need to know
- the difference is our “Knowledge Gap”. We are told that we can fill the gap by
reference to and comparison with other items of knowledge.
These lessons tell us that the Key to Ignorance is Knowledge.
And, in so many cases, all this is delivered in an environment where the admission
of a lack of knowledge is punished either by sanctions or humiliation.
“Everything can be learned by sustained application - Ignorance is Laziness.”
What a WRONG, sad and desperately limiting approach this has proved to be!
One of the characteristics of organisations that exhibit massive Competitive Strength
compared to others is that they do not think like this.
We have heard the leaders of such organisations respond to questions about their
future risks or hazards with the words
“We don’t know, but we know we will be able to find out when we need to”.
This is not over-confidence, or arrogance, even. It is an attitude based on a (sometimes
unconscious) Skill Set. We call these Finding Out Skills.
This set of skills is founded on a different way of thinking. It asks without previous
knowledge or assumption. It questions every answer it gets to make sure that it
understands exactly what it is being told and may be learning. It works hard to
suppress what it thinks it might know so that its questions are open to new information.
It is rigorously disciplined in the application of logic. This is PROCESS based
This all sounds simple and it is - it is not easy to do.
That is why we have developed Discovery Skills to help you lo learn to do it.
Why? Because it fails at the first step. Because it teaches people to be ashamed
if they don’t know and to look only for what they think they need to know. Because
the only basis they have for defining that need is based in what they think they
This is AGENDA based enquiry- and when the agenda is wrong, the probability is
that any answer will be very wrong.