The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.
Some time ago I was in a meeting that was rife with opinions regarding the issues of a project, technical discussion, and ultimately would it get off the ground. As the meeting was breaking up a leader looked at the project owner and simply asked, "In your heart of hearts, will it work?". I thought it was a brilliant question!
For those of you not familiar with the term "In your heart of hearts", it is an idiom that refers to knowing something for certain very deep inside yourself, although you might not want to admit it - Not even yourself sometimes.
The question had nothing to do with technical specifications, resource management or operating mechanisms, but something far more fundamental and core to building something sustainable - TRUST, HONESTY, RELIABILITY, the ability to get at the answer and make a better decision.
Most of us are trustworthy, honest and reliable; it is the way we try to run our lives. Every so often though, we find ourselves with a situation that we believe in so much, have worked on so hard, and have committed so much to, that if signs arise contrary to what we believe, we suppress it - In effect, we start fooling ourselves. More often than not, it is not malicious, but simply "being human"; this is why I love this question so much... it gets to the heart of the matter. (Yes, the puns are intended)
In a practical sense, the answers to "In your heart of hearts... will it work?" are simply YES, NO or I don't know"... often there is preamble before you get one of these answers, but you will, just be patient. For the less patient in the crowd, you can set the question up like this... "In your heart of hearts... will it work - Yes, No or I don't know?" There is much less preamble in my experience.
To be effective, this question should not asked by text, twitter, email, phone or anything other other than face to face. Remember that business is a social enterprise, so when you ask a "heart of hearts" question, you need to be face to face; not only to uncover the answers you need to make a business decision, but also to confirm the fundamentals of trust, honesty and reliability.
It is such a great leadership question to ask, or to be asked... as like I've said, "it gets to the heart of the matter", helps make better decisions, and confirm you are working with the right people. You just have to love it!
There just seems to be an endless amount of puns with this... sorry!