Friday, 23 September 2011

Who do you want to be = rubbish question

Here's one to think on over the weekend. I was waiting for the train at Waterloo station after client meetings and so forth. I had a few moments to wait for the platform number to appear on the information board.  Above me were the huge advertising banners and t.v. screens we so often ignore.

I then took a second look at this one from Southampton Solent University that asks "WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE". Sorry, I can't flip over the picture.  user error!

I know nothing abnout the University, its staff, courses, students or success but I know that's a rubbish question. How can I possibly know what I want to be in the future? and if I did then it would dictate what I ought to explore now, which is all a little too restriciting don't you think?  The advert has lots of words describing courses and careers which I suppose is there to get the reader to consider his or her life and offer suggestions of where they might focus.  Again a rubbish thing to do.  You're asking someone to choose focus (the WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE) thing but presenting them with thousands of options and no guidance on what to do or how to navigate.
I see this all to often and saw a great deal of this in my years as a teacher. You're asking peope to make decisions and establish focus yet bombard them with options.  No wonder it's hard to make a choice.  Students simply answer... dunno?  I hadn't thought about it? it's difficult to decide and who can blame them. The mind has shut down.

In the word of facilitating creative sessions within an innovation process, I see this happen again with adults.  Too many options and rubbish questions.

in thw words of Mies van der Rohe - God is in the detail. All we need to do to this copy is a little change to make a big difference. Let's consider "HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE?"...  a univerally better question and enables those who support to be much better coaches.

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