Why are you asking?

When was the last time you asked a meaningful question?

Seriously, we all tend to get into our daily routines and forget to ask questions. Instead, we try to “get things done” or find solutions to problems. 

I think it was Einstein who said “If I had one hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes on finding the right question to ask, and 5 minutes to find the answer to this question." 

Studies show that children ask over ten times more questions than adults do. Why is this the case? Subconsciously, to grow. Asking questions means learning, means growing, means getting to new levels. In other words, when we stop asking questions, we stop growing. 

Your progress and success in life (and in your business) are directly proportional to the number and quality of questions you ask. 

Here is my suggestion: By today, ask more questions to yourself, your colleagues, your team members. Asking questions differs from questioning things or people. 

Here comes the caveat: most people forgot how to ask insightful questions that direct us to good solutions. Here is a simple relation: poor questions lead to poor answers. Good questions lead to good answers. 

Consequently, the question is: How to ask good questions? Here are three tips. If you apply them, you have a great chance to drive yourself, your team, and your business to new success levels. 

  1. Be aware of the context. Do you need to spark creativity? Or do you need to make a decision? Depending on the context, you might ask open ended or closed questions. “How can we do this even better?” triggers creativity, whereas “If we had only one chance here, would you go with A or B?” triggers a decision.
  2. Be aware of the right order. When trying to find a solution, a good question order is always “Why”, then “How”, and only at the end “What”. Too many people and teams ask “What” questions before they even answered the “Why”. This is a key reason strategic projects slow down or stop overall. If we start by answering “What” we will do (“open a new branch in Taiwan”) without having answered the “Why” question beforehand, people will lose confidence in the actions when obstacles appear. Tip: Always check if all three question types (Why, How and What) have been answered before jumping into execution.
  3. Question assumptions. This is a general rule which can often be applied. The more mature we become, the more assumptions we carry in our backpack. Questions such as “What else could this mean?”, “What would be a better way of doing this?” or “Are there any other examples of how people deal with this issue successfully?” can be great assumption-busters.

Often, we are not aware of the questions we ask.

As part of my coaching, I often “shadow” my client and observe him or her during interactions with others. By this, we uncover the question patterns and improve them – with significant effects on influence and success. Interested? Just >>> click here <<< to set up a short phone conversation learn more.