My sister was just unexpectedly in the hospital and I found myself continually looking at my phone as it could give me minute-to-minute updates like it does for a sporting event. Even if there were no changes in her condition, I would have had more comfort in knowing that as opposed to being in the dark. It made me realize that I have come to expect that my “magic phone” (as I dubbed it when I first got a smartphone) knows everything.

I want to reach for my phone all the time to ask questions which have answers, but are unknown by Google: “how many people are at this event,” “who is that person I know from somewhere but can’t place,” “what size shirt does my brother wear,” or “when do the eggs in the refrigerator expire?” [It can be a fun icebreaker to ask people to share a question that has an answer that Google does not know.]

But I also sometimes wish that I could look up answers to questions to which there are no answers, important questions like: “should I pursue this line of work or that one”, “what is the best course of action to complete this project” or “what investment plan is the most beneficial to pursue?” These are things I do not know, and the phone cannot help me.

There are so many questions to which the phone has no answers. Maybe those are the big questions we should spend our time asking.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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