Top performers in any field have something in common, and it’s not where they went to school or how many degrees they have. They ask great questions.
Why are great questions important? Because asking questions you already know the answers to doesn’t lead to growth, learning or creative thinking. Great questions lead to innovation.
Great questions inspire what could be done, not what should be done. Lead your team to breakthrough ideas and unchartered territory with these tips and insights.
Asking a question doesn’t mean that you have to figure out the answer. It doesn’t even mean that you need to be the one that solves the problem. Don’t let your knowledge and skills limit your question-asking.
A question or problem might be too big for one person and require the collective thoughts of a team. Do you sense that an idea is stuck? Add a few more people into the mix and see if a new solution arises. Team thinking allows for the bouncing off of ideas, leading to new perspectives and breakthrough ideas.
Children are great natural questioners. They not only see the world with a fresh eye and curious mind but with no limitations on the questions they are asking. They ask questions about things they don’t know and don’t understand, which leads to exploring new territory, both mentally and physically. Challenge yourself to ask questions with a blank slate and see where it takes you.
Most of us immediately try to answer a question, not allowing ourselves to continue asking questions. This hinders us from asking even better questions. Don’t allow for missed opportunities this way. Challenge yourself or your employees to answer questions with a question to allow for deep thinking and the evolution of ideas.
Your choice of words has a lot to do with the answer you get. “What should be done?” prompts a very different response than “What could be done?” If you are a leader, how is your team supposed to deliver that great idea if your question boxes them in from the start? Using neutral words and open-ended questions allows for innovation rather than safe, automatic responses.
From early on, we are taught what to think. Most employees are scared to answer questions with “I don’t know.” Top performers and leaders at companies make it known that employees don’t need to know the answer to every question on the spot. Want your company to be successful? Embrace the fear, anxiety, and unknown of great questions. It's here that you and your company will go from the known to the unknown, which is where innovation exists.
What great question have you asked today?