If you’ve ever had an idea then you’ll know they rarely come with instructions; they capture our imaginations but give no detail about the how, what, when… or the all-important how much.

Of course, a good idea is hard to keep quiet, so it’s only a matter of time before you run it past someone else. But even as you’re babbling with excitement, chances are their minds are already filling with the exact same questions:

How? What? When?  How Much?


If you’ve already calculated the ROI, the CapEx and considered the OH&S you’ll probably get a warm reception. But if you’re still sketchy on the details you’re more likely to generate an awkward mixture of distrust,  scepticism, impatience and bewilderment.

In the stony silence of that moment, you will feel a desperate urge to ask:

So… what do you think?

… which is when your dream takes its very last breath, for, given the lack of crucial information, the only responsible answer is: NO.

If, on the other hand, you ask that question in a different way, thus:

How do you think this would work? or

What do we need to make this work? or

What should we change to make this work? or

How can you help me make this work? or

Who else do we need to make this work?

… you’ve asked for a plan, not a verdict.

Better still, you’ve shifted the format (from audition to conversation) redefined the relationship (from critical to creative) and turned what is usually torture into an adventure.

So if you really need a different answer, ask a different question.

Could you make that work?

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Written by Jason Clarke

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Celebrated author, adventurer, gold medal Olympian and popular TV chef; Jason is none of these things. He is, however, one of the most sought-after creative minds in the country. As founder of Minds at Work, he’s helped people ‘think again’ since the end of the last century, working with clients across Australia in virtually every industry and government sector on issues ranging from creativity and trouble shooting to culture change and leadership.