The Seeds of Change are In the Questions We Ask

Written by: Jordan Tinney

Published On: November 25th 2011

Last night I was reminded of a great quote from Cooperider (1995) who stated that “the seeds of change are implicit in the very first questions we ask.” Very often, we find ourselves moving along with the status quo because it is comfortable, familiar, and often the path of least resistance. What we also know is that the only constant around us is the amount of change. This quote, coming out of the Appreciative Inquiry world is an interesting touchstone as we work toward the changes to come with the new BC Education Plan.

Not only should we be asking questions about the very heart of our work, we should be probing deeper to get at the core values of what we do. Large and complex organizations often are caught in a too loose-too tight dilemma (Fullan, 2009). Too tight and people feel constrained and rebel. Too loose and there is no alignment for the larger collective purpose. Fullan suggests that to get at the heart of too tight-too loose, you need to support positive peer interaction. It is essential to find time to allow colleagues to get together and talk about the craft of teaching, leading and learning. When we find this time there are two benefits. The values of our colleagues can help inform and align the values of the organization and its core purpose, and the widely shared information and knowledge about teaching, leading and learning clearly improves culture, a sense of collective purpose and learning for all.

As we find the time for such purposeful peer collaboration to discuss the changes ahead, we know that people will indeed sow the seeds for change in the questions that they ask.