If I’ve learned anything in my long and winding career, it’s this: Nobody has all the answers. That’s why we need each other. In business and in life, we rely on the people around us. If I provide you with some insights and you do the same for me, we make progress together.
But while we offer praise and encouragement to those who provide us with the big answers, we often, consciously and unconsciously, discourage the asking of the little questions that will point us in the right direction. Without the right questions, we will never get to the right solution.
Just this week, we sat down to discuss a marketing plan with a new client. After the meeting, it was pointed out that I had offered more questions than answers. At first, I was taken aback. After all, they hired us for our marketing and branding expertise. But on quick reflection I remembered that we pose those questions to get educated, get to the heart of the client’s concerns, and build a strong, authentic brand.
As kids, we have no problem asking questions. Ask any parent driven to the brink by the endless repetition of “why?” and “how come?” Somehow, as we get older and “wiser,” that urge to ask gets sublimated. In our effort to avoid looking clueless, we often wind up without a clue.
The Harvard Business Review explores our “grownup” reluctance to inquire in an insightful article entitled, “Relearning The Art Of Asking Questions.” Authors Tom Pohlmann and Neethi Mary Thomas explore the downside of keeping those questions to yourself, and offer some intriguing answers.
“The unfortunate side effect of not asking enough questions is poor decision making. That’s why it’s imperative that we slow down and take the time to ask more — and better — questions. At best, we’ll arrive at better conclusions. At worst, we’ll avoid a lot of rework later on.”
If you ask me, there’s a lot of wisdom in that quote, no question.
Read the full article here.