The Genesis Project Episode Fifteen

Both Shirley and Jim were excited to learn about the transferal of creative thinking through the apprenticeship program that Grace had created. She had tweaked their interest at the end of their last meeting and told them there would be new insights to follow.

When they arrived, Grace introduced them to Sonia Baxter and Hattie Monroe. “Sonia has consistently been our most successful operations leader”, Grace began. “Her innovations are now standard practice. Why don’t I let Sonia introduce Hattie to you.”

“Thanks Grace. I chose Hattie as my apprentice as a result of a complaint her boss had filed with human resources. He wanted to have her fired because she wasn’t following our accepted practice. HR agreed that she should be fired, and that’s what brought her to my attention. Her non-standard practice was exactly the kind of thinking we needed. That’s what led me to select her as my apprentice.”

Shirley was fascinated by what she was hearing. “Sonia, now that you have had experience with the apprenticeship program, what would you say is critical to the success of the program in transferring your creative talent to another person?”

“Well, Hattie was creative naturally. But what I didn’t realize was that our working together made us bother more creative.”

“How so?”, asked Jim.

“She flooded me with questions. I’m embarrassed to say that they were questions I should have been asking myself. She actually helped me answer the questions she asked me. We were creating new ways to envision our operations.”

“Fascinating”, responded Jim. “Hattie, where did your questions come from? I’m a neuroscientist and I’m fascinated by why some people tend to be more curious than others.”

“I grew up in the Jim Crow South. My parents would not accept how we were treated. Our schools were terrible so my parents helped with our educations. Neither my mother or father had a high school education, so what they did was to ask us questions about what we were learning in school. We were learning from their questions, and they were learning from our answers. What they taught us is that true learning only comes from the questions you ask.”

“What your parents were doing is developing your growth mindset”, said Jim. “Sonia, not many people value questions being asked of them. What made you receptive to Hattie’s questions?”

“I have to admit that I wasn’t at first. But then she starting asking why questions, and that’s when both of us started to bond.”

Shirley interjected: “What do you mean by bond?”

“We were bonding over our collaborative imagination about what we could do differently to improve operations.”

Grace interrupted the discussion by saying. I’ll let you continue with this review, but I have to go to another meeting. Shirley and Jim, I’d like to schedule another meeting with you to discuss the other apprenticeships. They didn’t go so well.”

As she approached the door, Grace stopped and said: “I almost forgot. Hattie, I want you to take on the role of our operations innovation leader.”

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I never learn anything telling. I only learn things when I ask questions.” – Lou Holtz

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