Another lesson from maths class

In maths, we’re told to show the workings that lead to our answer.

To map them out step by step so that we can easily go back and iterate, should things turn out differently than expected.

At the time these instructions felt laborious, unnecessary and like Ms Salter was out to get you. Yet it turns out to be a great philosophy for leaders, creatives and changemakers.

That is to say, whenever we seek to better our work we should remember to share our process not just the outcome.

Firstly, it makes it easier to revise should we need to.

Secondly, and more importantly, it invites creative, generous and generative feedback we might not have considered.

“I made this widget, what do you think?” is much less effective than “here’s the problem, here’s the change that I think needs to be made and this is how I propose to get there, what do you think?”

Often we’re scared to go with the latter because our processes can be messy and imperfect.

That, of course, is what makes it so effective. The mess is where the magic is.

(See also: what we can learn from maths teachers).

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