Why it is important to Experiment and not Gamble
For those familiar with Scrum, you will know that during Sprint Retrospectives as part of our Inspection and then Adapting, the team will often setup Experiments to try in the next sprint to help make their world a better place. They can vary greatly, examples could be, trying pair programming, or holding the sprint review in the common area for anyone to see.
So why is it important that we Experiment, not Gamble on trying something new? It comes down to linguistics. Experiment gives us the opinion that we are trying something, testing out a hypothesis. With an experiment, even if our hypothesis doesn’t prove to be true, we still learn something from having done it; this embodies a saying I often use with coaching clients, there is no failure only feedback. I like to think of an experiment as a win-win situation.
On the other hand, Gamble implies we are participating in a risky action, something where there is usually a good chance of loosing something, and in casino terms, more so than winning. This is a win-loose situation.
Does this matter? I believe it does. The words we use, either verbally or in our internal dialogue shapes our thoughts more than most of us appreciate. Framing a situation as win-win, gives us the mind-set from the beginning that what ever happens, the outcome will be positive.
A negative mind-set brought on by the potential loss from the gamble however, will lace the entire experience with negativity, such that when the desired outcome is not a positive, we grieve the loss. We risk beating ourselves up for failing, or others for not contributing effectively.
Keeping a positive frame of mind, one that is open to the choices available to us has many benefits to allowing us space to try new things and break out of the norms that can restrict us.
We should also be aware of the language we use, next time you ask someone how they are today and get the response, “Not bad”, ask yourself, are they in a positive mind-set or a negative mind-set.
If you have examples of how language has limited yourself or others, please share in the comments of this post.