As Simon Sinek has observed, people intuitively deal with what they know before they deal with the things they don’t know or feel less comfortable dealing with. The easiest question, and the place most people start is “what?” They deal first with the symptoms they can see and quantify. And often they address them with a “how” that is equally familiar – the methodology they always use.
But while a particular problem may have set off the trip-wire, in reality that problem is probably a symptom of what’s really happened rather than the real cause.
It’s the prompt.
And just having a way to address that problem does not guarantee any quality of answer. It simply provides a process for everyone to map to.
Do you know the story of Abraham Wald? His reasoning shows why what you think you see can be so misleading. The mathematician was called in to determine how to make bombers safer during the Second World War. Everyone agreed they needed more armor. But where? Armor is heavy. If you put it everywhere, the bombers would never get off the ground. The answer seemed obvious. Put the armor where the planes were being shot the most. So Wald went to work and sketched all the places where bombers returning from their runs were most shot up.
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