Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Asking Questions That Get Answered

Many people approach me seeking guidance as to why their questions never get answered to their satisfaction (if answered at all).

As a strategy guy, I’m not a fan of asking questions merely for the sake of asking them nor am I a fan of randomly asking more questions when I don’t find the answers I seek.

I ask questions because I seek knowledge, context or something else that matters to me.

And because it matters, I am cognizant of the importance of the following attributes that a question must honor.

1. Is the right question being asked?
2. Is it being asked in the right way?
3. Is it being directed towards the right person(s)?
4. Is it being asked by the right person(s)?
5. Is it being asked at the right time?
6. Is it being asked with the right intention?
7. Is there a preconceived answer before the question is even asked?

To not honor these fundamentals for a successful question (and thus a successful answer) is to not truly care whether the answer is accurate, timely or even delivered at all and thus leaves one’s results (personal and professional) to chance.

I personally don’t want to leave my Life results to chance.

Do you?

I doubt it.

When it comes to asking questions, more is not necessarily better.  Context, content, delivery, timing and appropriate participant identification is everything.

To not care about this produces as much value as the question:

Are we there yet?

Questions like “why?”, “how do we know?” and others are critical to success.  I once mused that the question “why” is The Most Important Question Of All.

But questions only produce value when we know how to ask them.

Otherwise, you will not receive the desired result you seek OR someone else will ask the same question at a different time, of a different individual or in a different way and produce a result that honors them and not you.

The same rules apply when it comes to offering ideas that are accepted by others, as cleverly shown in the following FedEx commercial.

Do you really care about the answers that your questions are producing?

Are you sure?

Because if you really care, then you will pay more attention to how your questions are asked (or your ideas are offered) in the first place.

In service and servanthood,


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